Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

EPA Chief Gina McCarthy to GOP Congress: Bring It On

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

EPA Chief Gina McCarthy to GOP Congress: Bring It On

Article excerpt

President Obama won't budge on his climate agenda, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says, even as the incoming GOP Congress gears up to fight Mr. Obama on EPA regulations.

"I feel very confident that the president has the best interests of the EPA in mind, and he's made very clear what his priorities are," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor Monday. "There may be challenges ahead, but the president will do the right thing."

The Obama administration has made climate change a priority in the second term, and EPA is doing much of the lifting through its authority to regulate climate-warming emissions.

But a GOP challenge to the administration's carbon-cutting policies is expected. Under next year's GOP Senate, EPA will face increasing scrutiny from Republicans who blast Obama's environmental regulations as job-killing and excessive.

Incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R) has signaled that one of his top priorities will be fighting proposed EPA rules that Republicans fear would shutter coal-fired power plants. Target No. 1 is EPA's forthcoming Clean Power Plan, which would cut US emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Senator McConnell has indicated that Republicans may target EPA regulations by including language in must-pass spending bills that would restrict the EPA. That would force Obama either to accept scaled-back EPA rules and pass the spending bills or to veto the legislation and create a budget showdown.

"The American people spoke against the President's climate policies in this last election," Sen. James Inhofe (R) of Oklahoma said in a statement last week. "As we enter a new Congress, I will do everything in my power to rein in and shed light on the EPA's unchecked regulations."

Senator Inhofe, one of Capitol Hill's biggest climate change skeptics, is expected to chair the subcommittee overseeing the EPA. …

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