About 300 people crammed into the Environmental Protection Agency’s regional offices in suburban Kansas City to voice their opinions on efforts to curtail climate-warming greenhouse gas pollution. The executives, politicians, scientists, labor representatives and homemakers that made up the group traveled from at least five states.
Some in the audience urged the Obama administration to enact stringent controls on coal-burning power plants. Others warned of dire consequences if the EPA did so. The meeting was part of the agency’s 11-city “listening tour” to solicit ideas from the public before it issues rules to curb carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, specifically coal-burning plants that collectively represent the largest stationary source of planet-warming gases.
Whatever regulations the EPA proposes next spring, the stakes are high for Missouri, which depends on coal for 80 percent of its electricity. Environmental advocates said Missouri’s coal dependence and relatively low retail electric rates come at a high price in terms of air and water quality and public health.