Obama administration extends comment period for climate rules
The Environmental Protection Agency is extending the public comment period for newly proposed rules to combat climate change by cutting carbon emissions from power plants, the agency announced this week.
The Obama administration has come under increased pressure from Republican lawmakers and the energy industry to delay the rules or withdraw them altogether. Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett was among 15 governors who signed a letter to Obama on Sept. 9, arguing the EPA does not have the legal authority to implement the rule.
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Some electricity companies had argued that the rules were extraordinarily complex, clocking in at about 1,600 pages, and they needed extra time to study the full implications.
But a delay puts the EPA on an even tighter deadline to finalise the rule before Obama leaves office in 2016. Even before Tuesday’s extension, the initial comment period for the new EPA rule was already longer than the norm.
The EPA’s acting assistant administrator, Janet McCabe, insisted that extending the comment period would not put the rule in jeopardy. “We will have plenty of time,” she said.
McCabe also brushed aside suggestions that the delay would send the wrong message to leaders arriving for the UN climate summit in New York next week.
The EPA has extended the public comment period by another 45 days, or until December 1.
The announcement came as a state House committee met to discuss how the rules would affect Pennsylvania, which ranks third in the nation for energy production and comes in third place for carbon dioxide emissions.