Congressman Kevin Cramer

Representing North Dakota, At Large
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Cramer Requests EPA Coal Regulation Listening Session in Bismarck

Oct 18, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hold a public listening session in Bismarck regarding its proposed regulations on existing coal-fired power plants. The EPA announced it would hold 11 listening sessions in cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston, while bypassing all top ten coal states including North Dakota.

Cramer is an original cosponsor of a resolution calling on the EPA to hold listening sessions in all ten states which are most reliant on coal for electricity. North Dakota ranks #6 on the list.

“You should know this decision puts at risk 17,000 jobs, $3.5 billion in economic impact, and $100 million in tax revenue provided by the lignite coal industry in North Dakota. These figures are significant not only to our state, but to the national interest,” wrote Cramer in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

“Additionally, your planned EPA listening sessions bypass North Dakota entirely in favor of cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle. Excluding North Dakota and every other top ten coal state prevents our citizens from speaking out on new regulations which could destroy their economic welfare. Fewer places on earth have greater interest or expertise in the coal industry than our communities.”

Cramer said Bismarck is an ideal location for a listening session given its close proximity to coal mines and power plants, and his staff is ready to work on details with the EPA.

The complete text of the letter is below:

Dear Administrator McCarthy,

The people of North Dakota breathe some of the cleanest air in the world and enjoy the lowest prices of electricity in the United States. As their Congressman, I am greatly concerned by your agency’s plan to impose drastic new carbon emissions standards on coal-fired power plants.

You should know this decision puts at risk 17,000 jobs, $3.5 billion in economic impact, and $100 million in tax revenue provided by the lignite coal industry in North Dakota. These figures are significant not only to our state, but to the national interest.

Additionally, your planned EPA listening sessions bypass North Dakota entirely in favor of cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle. Excluding North Dakota and every other top ten coal state prevents our citizens from speaking out on new regulations which could destroy their economic welfare. Fewer places on earth have greater interest or expertise in the coal industry than our communities.

I request the EPA hold an additional listening session in Bismarck, North Dakota. Centrally located near six coal-fired power plants and four mines, the Bismarck-Mandan community is home to farmers, engineers, accountants, machinery operators, environmental scientists, rangeland biologists, and truck drivers who power our industry.

At the current burn rate, there is an 835 year supply of lignite coal under our prairies, with 120,000 of our acres under permit for mining. Yet we are one of very few states meeting all ambient air quality standards as prescribed by the EPA. Our mines take great pride and invest vast resources in protecting our environment. Coal miners and utility company employees not only enjoy high paying jobs, but they live here, they breathe the air, they drink the water, and they farm the land. 

            My staff will be ready to work with yours on a Bismarck hearing. I hope you will consider giving our citizens a chance to be heard.

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