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EPA Administrator Says Coal Rules Necessary Because of ‘Devastating Impacts on the Planet’

But Gina McCarthy tells GOP lawmakers she can't answer climate-change questions: 

“I just look at what the climate scientists tell me."

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

Bio

January 20, 2014 - 10:29 pm

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans attacked the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to cut pollution for coal-fired power plants last week, challenging the validity of the research on climate change and the viability of a technology aimed at cleaning carbon emissions.

Four of the federal government’s top climate change officials appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to try to build momentum for the president’s climate change strategy.

President Obama unveiled in June his climate action plan following the collapse of a cap-and-trade bill in the Senate. The plan includes a slew of new policies to curtail U.S. carbon emissions and promote renewable energy.

The president’s climate plan directs the EPA to propose rules to cut carbon pollution from power plants.

At the hearing, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told lawmakers power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S.

If left unaddressed, climate change could “have devastating impacts on the United States and the planet,” she said.

Democrats and Republicans on the committee exchanged divisive rhetoric on the issue.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said the evidence of climate change is already being witnessed in more acidic oceans and rising seas.

“Our sea levels are rising,” he said. “It’s not complicated. You measure that with a yardstick.”

Whitehouse urged the witnesses to keep up the good work and “armor” themselves against the attacks from those who deny climate change.

“My belief is that the propaganda machine behind the climate denial effort will go down in history as one of our great American scandals,” Whitehouse said. “Most Americans see through it.”

Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Americans already think climate change is a serious problem, citing a USA Today poll that shows popular support for government action on climate and clean energy solutions, such as solar and wind power.

“And here’s the thing about the American people. They all say this, not just Democrats, not just Republicans, not just independents. The only place that we have a partisan divide is right here in the Congress,” Boxer said.

Whitehouse and Boxer announced last Tuesday the creation of a Senate task force that aims to attack climate change denial and enlist support from companies outside of the fossil fuel industry.

Republicans on the panel questioned McCarthy about the validity of current climate change research. Some also raised concern about the impact on businesses and the coal industry.

Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) said he would not undertake a series of risky procedures to treat a problem that “we do not actually understand.”

Sen. David Vitter (La.), the committee’s ranking Republican, said the president’s climate action plan is based on “deeply flawed legal justifications and perceived theoretical benefits.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) accused the EPA of working “to wipe out coal and eventually natural gas.”

“It is clear that this EPA and this administration has an agenda, and that agenda is hurting jobs (and) raising energy costs,” he said. “This EPA is on the wrong side of the war on poverty.”

McCarthy defended the proposed rules to limit carbon emissions. She said her agency is under a Supreme Court ruling to regulate emissions as mandated by the Clean Air Act, which requires the agency to regulate carbon dioxide if it poses a threat to public health and welfare.

The Obama administration has spent billions of dollars in clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and sequestration systems (CCS) that are purported to clean up coal-fired power.

Republicans argued that the technology is not commercially ready and that a technology cannot be deemed ready if it receives federal funding to be operational.

Barrasso cited recent media reports that quoted a White House official saying that CCS technology has not been “adequately demonstrated” because the EPA’s assertion of technical feasibility of carbon capture relies heavily on pilot projects and literature reviews.

McCarthy said that CCS has been proven to be “technically feasible” in the data provided by the agency. The EPA said new plants could meet stricter emissions limits because CCS has been demonstrated to work and is the best technology available to plants.

EPA published the first set rules on new performance standards for power plants this month. The rules only apply to future plants and could go into force in 2015.

“For existing plants, we are engaged in outreach to a broad group of stakeholders who can inform the development of proposed guidelines, which we expect to issue in June of this year,” McCarthy said.

The existing plant carbon rule would give states the primary role in developing and implementing plans to address carbon pollution, she added.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) asked McCarthy whether she could confirm global temperatures were increasing faster in the last five or ten years than climate scientists had predicted, a claim made by Obama on several occasions.

McCarthy replied she could not answer the question because she only relays the information that scientists provide to her. 

“I just look at what the climate scientists tell me,” she said. “I don’t dissect that information in ways that would impress you, but certainly I’m not qualified.”

Sessions, however, was not persuaded by her answer.

“You are asking us to impose billions of dollars of cost on this economy and you won’t answer the simple question of whether [temperature around the globe is increasing faster than predicted] is an accurate statement or not?” Sessions retorted.

Barrasso grilled McCarthy about internal emails that appear to show top EPA officials using agency events to help environmental groups gather signatures for petitions on agency rulemaking.

One of the emails showed that an EPA top official held a meeting with these groups with the sole purpose to recruit additional comment signers.

McCarthy denied knowledge of the events and said she had not seen the email in question.

“It is very common practice for EPA to meet with a variety of stakeholders,” she said.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor Thursday that he, along with 40 other Republicans, will file an obscure measure, known as a “resolution of disapproval,” to block the forthcoming EPA regulations.

Rodrigo is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Did you ever think you would see people try so hard to create hardship? How are we making out with the Canadian pipe line? Of course there's a certain amount of fanaticism here, Whitehouse doesn't look to normal, good old Rhode Island, always good for a freak or two. Climate is historically always changing, this is about causing misery, just look at Obama, and of course pushing money in the direction of contributors. Windmills and reflectors are a return to primitivism and hardship, essential elements of the leftist fixation on hate.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Senate Republicans attacked the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to cut pollution for coal-fired power plants last week, challenging the validity of the research on climate change and the viability of a technology aimed at cleaning carbon emissions."
Please choose words carefully. The watermelons have slipped the phrase "carbon pollution" into the vernacular and here I see the phrase "...cut pollution..." as if it were related to carbon. But all of that plays into the false, the lying narrative of the watermelons.
"Carbon pollution" is a phrase that distorts carbon dioxide. "Carbon pollution" sounds like carbon particles in the air, so it's easy to think we're talking about soot, but we're talking about CO2, a valuable atmosphere component that has nearly zero influence on temperatures. Carbon dioxide is NOT a pollutant.
Burning anything, even methane, produces some kind of real pollution. There's a cost-benefit analysis in reducing real pollution -- trapping soot and debris, removing carbon monoxide possibly, trapping heavy metals maybe. Removing CO and heavy metals may be pointless. But those issues are entirely separate from CO2 and climate.
We need to keep the language clear to reduce the effect of the watermelons' lies.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
The real goal is to cripple US energy production so as to cause shortages. That in turn will give them an excuse for the feds to impose energy rationing, and by doing that it will give them the ultimate power to pick the winners and losers by rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies.

You have a non-unionized factory in a red state? Sorry, due to our notion of "social utility" as set by some nebulous bureaucratic determination you can only have electricity for three days a week. Live in one of those nasty suburbs that Progressives hate so much? Its severe gas rationing for you as well as rolling blackouts.

They will essentially be able to control the entire economy. AGW is just a scam to get them there.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (36)
All Comments   (36)
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Barry Hussein Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and all the other dumb idiots ‒who don’t even know that CO2 is NOT a poisonous gas‒ run and destroy the US on purpose with their alarmist hoax.
Since eons CO2 is a gas that is indispensable for all life on earth.
Barry repeatedly tells his ilk that CO2 ‒more specifically the manmade CO2, which is only ± 0,001152 % (≈ nil) of the atmosphere‒ is responsible for Global Warming, Global Climate Change and Global Weird Weather; that of course is a huge lie, responsible for trillions $ thrown into the alarmist’s cesspool.
Alarmist buddies and family have largely been able to fill their coffers as known swindlers always are able to do.
I don’t understand how it is possible that the knowledgeable millions of Americans have not yet been able to put those swindlers behind bars!
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
my co-worker's sister makes $73 /hour on the computer . She has been unemployed for five months but last month her income was $14752 just working on the computer for a few hours. more info here,,,,,,

=====>>>> http://www.Works6.com
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Devastating impact on the planet? How about you tree huggers think about the devastating impact on the lives of unemployed coal miners and their families.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
SO2 is the pollutant from coal combustion that is known to be harmful (acid rain). But, a new generation of stack scrubbers can remove between 95% and 99% of the sulfur dioxide. The new scrubbers are being installed in new coal generation plants and can be retrofitted in existing plants.

I wish someone would ask Gina McCarthy where atmospheric oxygen comes from. Plant photosynthesis of CO2 is the answer. CO2 is essential for all life forms on our planet.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember in highschool witnessing a debater loosing their thought and logic and asking for forgiveness from the audience before walking off the stage in shame. This is apparently a lost virtue as Gina McCarthy should be walking off the stage in shame. What an insane, confused progressive.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
With the Sun being as quiet as it is, wouldn't it be interesting if we were headed into a new mini-Ice Age? Wouldn't it be something if electricity demands skyrocketed as people tried to stay warn, but all the coal plants were gone so some 30% of supply just wasn't there anymore? Suppose the nuclear plants are shut down, too?

Suppose DC does what governments tend to do in those situations and nationalizes the power plants, because reopening the old plants to increase production would mean admitting they had been wrong and so will never happen? Then energy supplies will collapse. Will government help with soaring consumers costs across the board or try to fix prices and ration supply?

Will Obama and the other politicians, bureaucrats, and other parasites cut back or will they hog as much as they want whilst turning off the lights, starting with known Conservatives, and make the people sacrifice just a bit more during the hard times?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pournelle, Niven, et. al. actually wrote a novel in which global warming was the only thing staving off an ice age. Then the greens took over....

(Fallen Angels)
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"For existing plants, we are engaged in outreach to a broad group of stakeholders who can inform the development of proposed guidelines, which we expect to issue in June of this year."

Divided by a common language and all that... Does that actually make sense to American readers?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
They're talking regulation-ese.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Isn't she (Gina McCarthy) supposed to know anything?? How'd she get the job? Are those knee pads she's wearing?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said ...“Our sea levels are rising,” he said. “It’s not complicated. You measure that with a yardstick.” A YARDstick? How about a micrometer? Sea levels have risen MILLIMETERS in a century!

How about the fact the sun is quieting down with the lowest activity in a century - any other thoughts in your nimble brain, Mr Whitehouse?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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