Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy believes an upcoming proposal to set carbon-emissions standards for the nation’s existing power plants doesn’t have to become the stuff of familiar battles over climate change.
“Give it a chance,” she said Tuesday of the draft regulation slated to surface in June, urging critics not to bash the rules “out of the gate.”
McCarthy, speaking at a White House-hosted environmental event, sought to lay the messaging groundwork for what promises to be EPA’s broadest second-term climate initiative. Power plants generate a third of U.S. carbon emissions.
A separate proposal released last year to set standards for newly constructed coal-fired power plants drew swift and fierce opposition from coal industry and conservative groups.
But McCarthy touted the agency’s outreach to power companies and other stakeholders about the rule for the nation’s existing fleet of plants.
“I do not see utilities going out at this point, or states, saying ‘it can’t be done, it can’t be done, it can’t be done,’ ” McCarthy said.
“I have great faith that this type of outreach, this honest engagement, will get us a proposal that’s better than anybody expected,” she said at the event with religious and community groups on climate change.
McCarthy vowed to give states plenty of leeway to craft plans to meet the standards for existing plants.
“We are going to put out a proposal that is both going to get significant [emissions] reductions but be absolutely flexible, recognizing that states are all in very different places here, and we need to make this work,” she said.
“We need to make this an opportunity for every state to advance their own economies the way they want to advance them, but overall we’ve got to start driving that carbon pollution down,” McCarthy added.
While McCarthy is talking détente, the upcoming rules are almost certain to be challenged in court.
In 2012, a federal Appeals Court upheld EPA’s climate authority and its first wave of requirements, although a permitting program for big industrial pollution sources is now before the Supreme Court.
What We're Following See More »
"A lawyer representing Chris Gard and Connie Yates told the High Court 'time had run out' for the baby. Mr. Gard said it meant his 'sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy' will not reach his first birthday on 4 August. 'To let our beautiful little Charlie go' is 'the hardest thing we'll ever have to do,' his mother said. Charlie's parents said they made the decision because a US doctor had told them it was now too late to give Charlie nucleoside therapy.
"Eleven states have sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its June decision to delay implementation of a chemical safety rule" until 2019. "The state attorneys general, led by New York’s Eric Schneiderman (D), argue the rule is important for 'protecting our workers, first-responders and communities from chemical accidents' and should be allowed to take affect as planned by the Obama administration’s EPA.