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Obama's New Climate Boss

- March 4, 2013

Today, Obama Appointed Gina McCarthy As His New Administrator Of The Environmental Protection Agency. "Ernest J. Moniz, the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Energy Initiative, is set to take over for Steven Chu at the Energy Department. Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator in charge of air and radiation at the E.P.A., is set to replace the departing administrator, Lisa P. Jackson." (John Broder and Matthew Wald, "Obama To Nominate New Heads For Energy Department And EPA," The New York Times, 3/4/13)

McCarthy Has Been Involved With Obama's "Most Ambitious Clean Air Regulations, Including Proposed Greenhouse Gas Regulations For New Power Plants." "The choice of Ms. McCarthy is likely to generate considerable opposition because she is identified with several of the Obama administration's most ambitious clean air regulations, including proposed greenhouse gas regulations for new power plants." (John Broder and Matthew Wald, "Obama To Nominate New Heads For Energy Department And EPA," The New York Times, 3/4/13)

MCCARTHY WAS OBAMA'S CHIEF REGULATOR OF GREENHOUSE GASES

As Head Of The EPA's Clean Air Division, McCarthy Has "Been A Central Player In Developing Greenhouse-Gas Rules." "She has already been a central player in developing greenhouse-gas rules proposed last year that would effectively rule out new coal-fired power plants using existing commercially viable technology." (Tennille Tracy, Keith Johnson, and Ryan Tracy, "Insider Emerges As Top Contender For EPA Job," The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/13)

At Obama's EPA, McCarthy Took On "Much Of The Heavy Lifting Of Writing, Structuring, And Implementing" "Controversial New Climate And Clean Air Rules." "EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has taken most of the fire from Republicans as her agency rolls out a slew of controversial new climate and clean air rules. But McCarthy, the EPA assistant administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation, has taken on much of the heavy lifting of writing, structuring, and implementing the rules." (Coral Davenport, "EPA Official Was Romney's 'Green Quarterback,'" National Journal, 9/22/11)

McCarthy Said That Using The Clean Air Act To Regulate Emissions From Natural Gas Production Is "A Reasonable Step For National Regulation." "Environmental groups have urged the EPA to step in to prevent water pollution and natural gas leaks from pipelines or during drilling. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the authority to regulate emissions from the drilling activity. But the oil and gas industry has argued that the task should be left in the hands of state regulators. Assistant EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Wednesday that 'this is a reasonable step for national regulation to try to address.' She estimated that there have been 12,000 gas wells drilled using hydraulic fracturing." (Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, "EPA Delays Tough Rules For Oil, Gas Industries," The Washington Post, 4/19/12)

McCarthy's Emissions Rules Have Hurt The Coal And Gas Industry

The Obama Administration Proposed The Nation's First Ever Restrictions On Greenhouse Gasses From Power Plants, Limiting New Fossil-Fuel-Burning Plants To No More Than 1,000 Pounds Of Carbon Dioxide Per Megawatt Generated. "The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed the nation's first-ever restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants. If approved, the restrictions are expected to sharply curb construction of new coal-fired power plants nationwide. The proposed restrictions, unveiled by officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, would apply only to new fossil-fuel-burning power plants - limiting them to no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt generated." (Mark Clayton, "EPA Issues New Rule On Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Christian Science Monitor, 3/27/12)

The EPA's "Unrealistic And Pointless $9.6 Billion Rule For Trace Mercury Emissions" Is The Reason Why "Coal Is In Decline." "The President's cameo as a coal guy is even more amazing. In 2008 Mr. Obama declared that he wanted electricity rates for so-called dirty fuels to 'necessarily skyrocket' and 'if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can-it's just that it will bankrupt them.' That's one promise he's kept: For the first time, coal is in decline, with production falling 6.5% since 2008, according to the EIA. Part of the reason is a shock from cheap natural gas. But the major reason is a surge of EPA air and water rules, such as an unrealistic and pointless $9.6 billion rule for trace mercury emissions that the agency put out last year. The EIA expects 8.5% of the coal-fired fleet to retire by 2016, and 17% by 2020, and those are very conservative estimates. Coal has fallen to 32% of U.S. net electric generation, according to preliminary EIA data for 2012. This share stood at about 48% when Mr. Obama took office." (Editorial, "Energy In The Executive, The President's Real Record On Fossil Fuels," The Wall Street Journal, 10/17/12)

Obama's EPA Proposed The First Greenhouse Gas Limits That Will "Effectively Prohibit New Coal-Fired Power Plants." "President Barack Obama's proposed emission rules for power plants effectively prohibit new coal- fired power plants, buttressing the nation's shift away from a power source that fueled the Industrial Revolution to cheap natural gas. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first limits on greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. power plants yesterday, setting a standard natural-gas facilities can meet. A new coal plant, however, would need carbon-capture technology, which industry lobbyists say isn't available at competitive rates." (Mark Drajem, "Obama Power-Plant Rule Signals Demise Of 'Old King Coal,'" Bloomberg, 3/28/12)

  • 111 Coal Power Plants Closed From 2009-2012 . "But in the past two years, an increasing number of coal-powered electricity plants across the country have announced closures. Estimates vary, but banking and industry analysis firm Credit Suisse put expected and known closures for 2009-2012 at 111 plants, that's one-fifth of the nation's nearly 500 coal plants." (Lisa Desjardins, "The War Over Coal Is Personal," CNN, 7/17/12)

MCCARTHY SUPPORTS CAP AND TRADE

In 2012, McCarthy Said That Congress Would Establish A Cap And Trade Program "At Some Point In The Future, We Hope." "The EPA's McCarthy said the agency would require that existing and new utilities and refineries use only 'what technologies are available.' It would not set an overall limit on greenhouse gases such as one that was included in the cap-and-trade bill passed by the House in 2009 but that died in the Senate. 'This is not about a cap-and-trade program,' she said. 'It is not in any way trying to get into the area where Congress will be establishing law at some point in the future, we hope.'" (Juliet Eilperin, "EPA Vows To Enforce Curbs On Emissions," The Washington Post, 12/24/10)

McCarthy Established Connecticut's Cap And Trade Program

As Head Of Connecticut's Department Of Environmental Protection, McCarthy Helped The State Become "One Of The First 10 States To Participate In A Regional Cap-And-Trade Plan." "McCarthy went on to head Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection, where she became well-known for her work addressing climate change. During her tenure, Connecticut became one of the first 10 states to participate in a regional cap-and-trade plan." (Coral Davenport, "EPA Official Was Romney's 'Green Quarterback,'" National Journal, 9/22/11)

  • Working In Connecticut, McCarthy "Moved The State Into A Regional Greenhouse-Gas Trading Plan And Sued Out-Of-State Power Companies." "In Connecticut, Ms. McCarthy and Mr. Blumenthal, then state attorney general, moved the state into a regional greenhouse-gas trading plan and sued out-of-state power companies whose emissions drifted into Connecticut and affected the state's air." (Tennille Tracy, Keith Johnson, and Ryan Tracy, "Insider Emerges As Top Contender For EPA Job," The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/13)

As Commissioner Of The Connecticut Department Of Environmental Protection, McCarthy Helped "Fine-Tune" The State's Cap-And-Trade Legislation. "Gina McCarthy, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, helped fine-tune the legislation into something that the administration of Governor Rell could support: firm goals with a flexible means to achieve them. The legislation was also designed to be in keeping with the governor's stated desire to use such energy policies as economic development opportunities." (Jan Ellen Speigel, "A Northeast Movement To Cut Emissions," The New York Times, 5/4/08)

McCarthy Said That Connecticut's Cap And Trade Program "Sends A Powerful Message" As A "Comprehensive Energy Plan." "The allocation of the permits, which power plants must have to operate once the initiative takes effect in 2009, is a key issue still being negotiated. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy said Rell's stance on the permits 'sends a powerful message to everyone who uses or produces power in the state that we firmly support energy efficiency, conservation and renewable resources as part of a comprehensive energy plan.'" (Staff Report, "Rell To Introduce CO2 Legislation," Hartford Courant, 3/6/07)

MCCARTHY HAS A RECORD OF DIMISSING THE CONCERNS OF BUSINESSES

In 2012, The EPA Issued New Natural Gas Fracking Rules That "Would Cost Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars And Slow The Boom In Domestic Natural Gas Production." "Industry groups said meeting the proposed standards would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and slow the boom in domestic natural gas production. The original proposal was significantly revised, giving industry more than two years to comply and lowering the cost." (John M. Broder, "U.S. Caps Emissions In Drilling For Fuel," The New York Times, 4/19/12)

  • McCarthy Defended The Rules Saying That "They Are Practical, Flexible, Affordable And Achievable." "'Because these regulations rely on technologies and practices that are already in use by some companies and required by some states, they are practical, flexible, affordable and achievable,' Gina McCarthy, head of the E.P.A.'s office of air and radiation, said in a conference call. 'Natural gas is key to our clean energy future.'" (John M. Broder, "U.S. Caps Emissions In Drilling For Fuel," The New York Times, 4/19/12)

McCarthy Dismissed Concerns Over The Regulation Of Emissions From Cement Plants Saying That "It's Misleading To Say That Implementation Of The Clean Air Act Costs Jobs." "Less than a week after Obama quashed new Environmental Protection Agency standards for ozone citing the threat to the economy, the EPA's top air official said today the cement and boiler proposals present no such tradeoff. 'These are rules that are long overdue,' Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy testified to the energy and power subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 'It's misleading to say that implementation of the Clean Air Act costs jobs.'" (Mark Drajem, "EPA's McCarthy Opposes Bills To Delay Cement, Boiler Rules," Bloomberg, 9/8/11)

In 2012, McCarthy Denied Waivers From Corn Ethanol Blending Mandates, Despite The Drought Having "Created Hardship" "Particularly For Livestock Producers." "In an e-mailed statement today, the Environmental Protection Agency said it had found no evidence of 'severe economic harm,' a determination needed to support granting the waiver. The governors of Arkansas, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, Virginia, New Mexico and Texas made the request. The group included four Democrats and four Republicans. 'We recognize that this year's drought has created hardship in some sectors of the economy, particularly for livestock producers,' said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. 'But our extensive analysis makes clear that congressional requirements for a waiver have not been met and that waiving the RFS will have little, if any, impact.'" (Alan Bjerga and Mario Parker, "EPA Rejects Requests To Ease U.S. Corn-Based Ethanol Mandate," Bloomberg, 11/16/12)

  • Last Year's Corn Harvest Was "The Smallest In Six Years, Because Of The Drought," With "42 Percent Of The 2012 Crop" Being "Used To Make Ethanol." "This year's corn harvest is forecast at 10.725 billion bushels, the smallest in six years, because of the drought. About 4.5 billion bushels will be used to make ethanol in the year starting Sept. 1, or about 42 percent of the 2012 crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated on Nov. 9." (Alan Bjerga and Mario Parker, "EPA Rejects Requests To Ease U.S. Corn-Based Ethanol Mandate," Bloomberg, 11/16/12)

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