Republicans are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of letting a green group write its landmark climate rules, and EPA isn’t happy about it.
Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming accused EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Wednesday of letting the Natural Resources Defense Council dictate its rules, saying the agency had deferred to the group’s “powerful, wealthy, Washington lawyers and lobbyists” while writing the agency’s carbon-pollution rules for existing power plants.
“They [the NRDC] have millions, which gives them access. The EPA has turned a deaf ear on those who don’t,” Barrasso said at an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing.
McCarthy wasn’t having it, and when it came time for questions and answers, when Barrasso asked why EPA had let NRDC write the rule, McCarthy curtly replied, “We did not.”
Later in the hearing, McCarthy said the allegations were a “discredit” to EPA staff who had worked around the clock to meet with stakeholders from all sides to design the climate rule.
And McCarthy’s Senate allies were swift to fire back, with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont saying it was “remarkable that my Republican colleagues would dare to raise the issue of campaign finance” before ticking down a list of figures on the spending done by the oil and gas industry.
“Is there money coming into the political process from wealthy liberals? The answer is yes,” Sanders said. “But that money is clearly dwarfed by the amount of money coming in from the fossil-fuel industry.”
The GOP charges come in response to a New York Times story this month that said a policy outline drafted by the NRDC had served as the “blueprint” for EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which would require emission cuts of 30 percent from power plants by 2030. NRDC in 2012 released a proposal on how to regulate emissions from power plants that would have set different limits for states and allowed regional flexibility, a strategy EPA embraced in its own rule.
EPA has denied that NRDC exercised clout in writing the rule — a blog post days after the story by Janet McCabe, acting chief of the agency’s air office, described meeting with “literally thousands” of stakeholders during the drafting process.
But that hasn’t stopped critics from seizing on the supposed influence as a sign of what they say is a crooked drafting process. Barrasso on Wednesday promised to follow up with a document request on NRDC’s role, with a jab at the recent disclosure that EPA had lost some emails due to a hard-drive crash.
“If the answer is no, that you will not comply, or that there are more record-keeping mishaps, broken hard drives, lost files, then we’ll know the truth about this agency as well,” Barrasso said.
What We're Following See More »
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49%-44% in a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday afternoon. But it's Gary Johnson's performance, or lack thereof, that's the real story. Johnson, who had cleared 10% in some surveys earlier this fall, as he made a bid to qualify for the debates, is down to 3% support. He must hit 5% nationwide for the Libertarian Party to qualify for some federal matching funds in future elections.
While the organization praised him for being "perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party," the Log Cabin Republicans refused to endorse Donald Trump for president. The organization, which is the largest gay organization in the United States, said that Trump failed to earn its endorsement because he surrounded himself with anti-LGBTQ people "and committed himself to supporting legislation such as the so-called 'First Amendment Defense Act' that Log Cabin Republicans opposes."
Energy Secretary Ernesto Moniz is warning Congress "that Congress and businesses need to act with more urgency to work out a medley of challenges in promoting nuclear power." A number of nuclear plants are currently on track to close around 2030, unless their licenses are extended from 60 years to 80 years, something that could jeopardize the success of the Clean Power Plan. Moniz called on Congress to pass legislation creating interim storage facilities for used nuclear power.
Donald Trump has said he received a $17 million insurance payment in 2005 following Hurricane Wilma, which he claimed did severe damage to his private club in Florida. However, an Associated Press investigation could not find any evidence of the large-scale damage that Trump has mentioned. Additionally, Trump claimed that he transferred some of the $17 million to his personal account thanks to a "very good insurance policy."