The head of the Environmental Protection Agency played regulation whack-a-mole Thursday on Capitol Hill, as Republicans on the House Science Committee spent the morning popping credibility questions about each of their least favorite regulations.
Gina McCarthy had been called to testify about GOP charges that the EPA uses “secret science” to justify its regulations and fails to balance economic costs with environmental benefits.
Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, wanted answers about a leaked proposal that would give the agency expanded jurisdiction over waterways. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., questioned ethanol mandates under the renewable-fuel standard, contending elevated levels of the biofuel in gasoline would damage engines. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, quizzed McCarthy on hydraulic fracturing, twice accused her of filibustering and, exasperated, said: “Maybe I can’t understand anything you say because you’re hard to believe, ma’am.”
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, challenged McCarthy’s contention that carbon capture and sequestration technology for coal-fired power plants is near commercial readiness. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., took issue with a rule that requires utilities to improve aquatic-life protections on intake equipment. Smith asked another question on ozone standards.
McCarthy countered that “science is the backbone of our decision-making” and praised the peer review and public disclosure methods used by the agency. “I’m incredibly proud of the science this agency relies on,” she said.
She defended each of the regulations challenged by lawmakers as well as the scientific process EPA used to develop them.
But Republicans would have none of it. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., accused the agency of creating a “closed loop” that drafts sweeping regulations and then rigs scientific findings to justify them. And while most of the GOP committee members questioned the science behind the regulations, one questioned its usefulness in the first place. “Does science ever change or get proven wrong?” asked Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, showing little surprise when McCarthy answered in the affirmative.
As the hearing went on, questions strayed into some more unusual subject matter, as evidenced on Twitter.
Rep. Massie just asked McCarthy if she is looking to regulate the methane emissions from cows — what happens when hearings go too long.— Laura Barron-Lopez (@lbarronlopez) November 14, 2013
Gina McCarthy tells House committee EPA not exploring regulating methane emissions from cow flatulence.— Jason Plautz (@Jason_Plautz) November 14, 2013
McCarthy was given the occasional reprieve when some Democrats offered up their questions. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., asked her to talk about how EPA rules have created jobs. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., wondered about documentation of climate change. “We have a wealth of data that is more than sufficient,” McCarthy said. “Great!” Edwards replied.
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Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.
According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.