Policy: Environment & Energy

New EPA chief: ‘Stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs’

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Jobs,EPA,Analysis,Gina McCarthy,Energy and Environment

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy said people should “stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs,” even as Democratic lawmakers throughout the country have mounted an offensive against EPA rules.

“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs, please?” McCarthy said at Harvard Law School Tuesday while defending her agency’s air regulations, according to the Washington Post. “We need to embrace cutting-edge technology as a way to spark business innovation.”

McCarthy should try silencing Democrats before she takes that message to the rest of the country. “[W]e cannot allow President Obama, the EPA or anyone else [to] demonize the one source of energy that produces more of this country’s electricity than any other single source,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said last week when his state sent a 17-person delegation to Washington D.C. in opposition to the EPA’s policies regarding the coal industry.

Democratic members of Pennsylvania’s state government also criticized EPA policy last week, apropos of FirstEnergy’s decision to close two coal-fired power plants.

“I understand the economics behind the decision to close the plants,” said State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson. “What I question are the regulatory policies that fail to atone for the damaging effects [they have] on the economic survival of regions that have given their life bloods to power the nation.”

EPA officials understand that their desired regulatory policies will destroy coal communities. “Just two days ago, the decision on greenhouse gas performance standards, and saying basically, ‘gas plants are the performance standard, which means that if you want to build a coal plant you’ve got a big problem,’” New England regional administrator Curt Spaulding said last March at Yale University.

“You can’t imagine how tough that was, because — you got to remember — if you go to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and all those places, you have coal communities who depend on coal,” Spaulding continued. “And to say, ‘we just think those communities should just go away’ — we can’t do that. But [former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson] had to do what the law and policy suggested and it’s painful. It is painful every step of the way.”

Obama plans to make owners of existing coal plants struggle with the “big problem” facing people who would like to build new coal plants.

“I’m directing the Environmental Protection Agency to put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution from our power plants, and complete new pollution standards for both new and existing power plants,” the president said at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013.

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