EPA Chief McCarthy says President & EPA not out to kill coal
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy attempted this past Friday to reassure members of the coal industry and elected officials from North Dakota that the Obama administration is not out to destroy coal. In a 2/28/14 meeting, held in Beulah, ND, McCarthy noted that,
…cries that the Obama Administration is moving to wipe out the coal industry are hollow.
“We are trying to do everything we can to make sure that we are listening to the president when he says this is an all of the above administration,” McCarthy said. “That is not rhetoric — that is a policy. The EPA is staying in its lane and looking at carbon as a pollutant. We are applying the Clean Air Act, hopefully as flexibly as we can, but we also recognize that carbon is a pollutant that contributes to perhaps the most significant public health challenge of our time, which is climate change.”
Industry officials and N.D. reps listened, but their statements and questions after hearing Ms. McCarthy did not indicate they placed a high level of faith in her claims. Bipartisan critiques of EPA and administration policy were plainly stated.
After about 30 minutes of roundtable discussion, however, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said what many at the table seem to have been hinting at.
“There’s a whole lot of people out there who don’t want these incremental steps to succeed because they don’t want coal to succeed,” Heitkamp said. “I don’t think anybody in this room should disagree with that. A lot of people don’t want coal to be in the mix. When you look at the kind of regulation out there, and lack of reward for any incremental movement that would actually achieve some results, these folks here are scared to death to do it. The environment we’re in politically is the ‘hell no to coal environment.’”
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., took it a step further.
“When it comes to CO2, it seems to me you need to ask people like the folks in this room what’s achievable before you go forward with a standard,” Hoeven remarked to McCarthy. “For you to go forward with a CO2 standard that they can’t meet, it doesn’t work. So, you can say ‘coal is going to be part of the mix,’ but, if you come out with a standard they can’t achieve, coal won’t be part of the mix. What are you going to do?”