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Policy: Environment & Energy

Did the EPA Administrator admit to waging a 'war on coal'?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Bill Maher,EPA,Ashe Schow,Gina McCarthy,Energy and Environment,Coal

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy appeared to agree Friday night that the agency is indeed fighting a “war on coal.”

McCarthy, speaking with comedian Bill Maher on his HBO program, “Real Time,” was answering a direct question about whether the EPA’s “clean power program” was a war on coal.

“Some people called it a war on coal. I hope it is a war on coal,” Maher said, gleefully. “Is it?”

McCarthy responded by saying that the EPA “is all about fighting against pollution and fighting for public health.”

But she added with emphasis: “that’s exactly what this is.”

Maher appeared to have taken the end of her answer to be confirmation that there is a war on coal.

“Oh, great,” Maher said. The audience applauded.

“Exactly,” McCarthy said again.

But Alisha Johnson, a spokeswoman for the EPA, told the Washington Examiner that McCarthy's emphasis was toward the Clean Power Plan, which is meant to cut carbon emissions for existing power plants.

Johnson told the Examiner that McCarthy has said in the past that the agency is not waging a war on coal and that the administrator was referring to the EPA’s mission to fight pollution.

It appears Maher's glee was premature.

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