Chairman Barrasso speaks at rally for coal workers in Gillette, Wyo., just prior to the EPA listening session on the repeal of the so-called Clean Power Plan

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listening session in Gillette, Wyo, on the repeal of the Obama administration’s burdensome Clean Power Plan regulation.

Before the listening session, Barrasso spoke at a rally of Wyoming’s coal workers. Wyoming is the nation’s leading producer of coal, accounting for about 40 percent of America’s total coal production. In 2016, coal production employed 5,682 workers in Wyoming. More than 80 percent of those workers were located in Campbell County.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“I would like to thank the leadership of the EPA for being here today and holding this listening session in the heart of coal country.

“Gillette, Wyoming, is the perfect place to discuss the repeal of the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan.’

“The people of Gillette and this turn out have been tremendous and I want to thank all of you for being here, as well.

“President Trump, and Congress, and EPA Administrator Pruitt have made removing punishing regulations – like the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ – a top priority.

“It’s critical that Washington hears directly from the people here today from Wyoming.

“Wyoming is the leading coal-producing state in America.

“The vast majority of that coal comes from right here in Campbell County.

“The so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ would have cost Wyoming’s energy workers their jobs.

“The plan risked devastating communities throughout the state.

“The last administration’s regulation wasn’t just bad policy, in my opinion it was illegal.

“The EPA went way beyond its authority.

“I am thankful the EPA today is taking the time to listen to all stakeholders and reexamine the agency’s role.

“I support EPA’s proposal to repeal entirely this punishing regulation.

“States must play a significant role in this process.

“Wyoming’s workers – and their families –who would have been directly impacted by this regulation, need to have a seat at the table in this conversation. They have that seat today.

“In Washington, the delegation – the three of us – have worked to highlight what is happening right here in Wyoming. That is what we do everyday.

“Later this week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is coming to Wyoming.

“We invited him and he accepted the invitation to see firsthand why this relief is so important to all of us and to the country, and our energy needs for the future.

“The federal government needs to collaborate with the state, rather than creating massive roadblocks like this burdensome regulation.

“America cannot afford to leave its most important energy resource – coal – stranded in the ground. 

“Wyoming is leading the way by developing innovative solutions which will allow us to keep using coal and at the same time reduce emissions.

“The state has encouraged the development of technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants and to transform that carbon dioxide into useful products through practices such as enhanced oil recovery. Which we are doing right now.

“It allows us to use our abundant coal reserves, increase the amount of oil that we can get from wells, and significantly reduce emissions at the same time.

“The Integrated Test Center is a wonderful example of innovation in Wyoming. 

“It is just 7 miles from here at Dry Fork Station.

“It provides space for researchers to develop technologies which take emissions from Dry Fork Station and then use them in commercially viable ways.

“As Chairman of the Committee in the Senate on Environment and Public Works, I have continued to feature witnesses from Wyoming – brining people from Wyoming to Washington – to testify and to prove that the best ideas don’t actually come from Washington. They come from Wyoming and other states.

“I invited witnesses from the Governor’s office, from the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, and from the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources.

“All came to show the bureaucrats in Washington that you do not need to enact punishing federal regulations in order to reduce emissions. You can do it through innovation.

“I have introduced the legislation called the USE-IT Act. Use the coal.

“The bill is bipartisan.

“It supports research at places like the Integrated Test Center to reduce emissions and develop new uses for carbon dioxide, whether in building materials or medical products. 

“And this bill also supports timely environmental permitting for carbon capture projects and related pipelines.

“Finally, this bill directs the federal government to work with states to facilitate additional carbon dioxide pipeline corridors.

“Today’s listening session is an opportunity for the EPA to hear the concerns of the hard working people of Wyoming. People who would be hurt by the so-called Clean Power Plan.

“The Obama administration tried to kill the coal and the energy sector.

“Under President Trump, the war on coal and American energy is over.

“Now is the time for Wyoming and other states to go back into the driver’s seat. That is where we belong.

“We will use our coal, our oil, our natural gas resources, and our uranium to promote the well-being and prosperity of our state and our nation.

“We will use these resources responsibly and we are going to promote innovation so we can keep our environment clean, and our communities thriving, and America’s economy growing."

Background Information:

The EPA has already held listening sessions on the repeal of the CPP in Charleston, W. Va., and San Francisco, Calif.

On October 10, 2017, the EPA published a draft rule to repeal the Clean Power Plan rule.

On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order promoting energy independence and economic growth.

This executive order rescinded a number of the Obama administration’s climate-related initiatives. It also directed the EPA and the Department of the Interior to review and – if appropriate – suspend, revise, or rescind regulations affecting the oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, and electric-generation sectors of our economy. Barrasso attended the signing ceremony for the order.