President Mr Barack Obama’s pick to lead the US Environmental Protection Agency told a Senate panel that coal will remain important in the US energy mix and that the EPA will be flexible in applying new pollution rules for coalfired power plants.
Mr Gina McCarthy EPA’s assistant administrator for air and radiation was questioned by Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the agency’s plans to roll out regulations soon to curb carbon emissions from power plants, blamed for contributing to global warming.
The Boston native is seeking confirmation by the Senate to replace Ms Lisa Jackson who resigned as EPA chief in February.
Ms McCarthy said that “Coal has been and will continue to be a significant source of energy in the United States, and I take my job seriously when developing those standards to provide flexibility in the rules.”
Ms McCarthy said that the inspector general of the EPA is doing an internal audit of the agency’s communications. We are doing everything we can to improve the system at the EPA.
She told lawmakers she recognized the need for cooperation between federal regulators and state and local authorities.I have worked for states and local communities. I understand the stress they are under.
Republican Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Mr James Inhofe of Oklahoma among others, quizzed Mr McCarthy about the economic impact of its rules on states that rely on coal as a primary energy source and about her feelings toward job losses when coal plants close.
Mr Barrasso said that rules that prevent new coal plants from being built and would potentially shut down existing coal plants are already causing chronic unemploymentin Wyoming.How many more times will an EPA administrator pull the regulatory lever that will allow another mining family to fall through the EPA’s trap door of joblessness, poverty and poor health.”
Mr David Vitter Louisiana Republican said that “There has been a pattern of abuse using personal email accounts at EPA. It is clear that this practice in many cases was used to hide information from the public.”