Executives from Intel, the American Sustainable Business Council and biofuel trade association Growth Energy say Gina McCarthy will protect the environment and grow American jobs if appointed to head the EPA.
President Obama yesterday nominated McCarthy, currently the assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, for the top post at the agency. Following Obama’s mentions of climate change in his second inaugural and State of the Union addresses, McCarthy’s supporters say her nomination as EPA administrator is another indication that President Obama is serious about prioritizing the issue.
Stephen Harper, Intel’s director of environment and energy policy, described McCarthy as “a person who really does get it in terms of what industry needs from an EPA leader,” and noted her leadership in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, which Harper said has been “instrumental” in encouraging Intel’s renewable energy use.
Intel uses 100 percent green power in its US operations through renewable energy certificates, on-site generation and utility green power products, according to the EPA’s 2013 Green Power Partnership list.
American Sustainable Business Council CEO and founder David Levine said McCarthy will push clean air, climate change mitigation, safer chemicals and green chemistry — while working collaboratively with companies — if appointed. “As assistant administrator, McCarthy has noted economic prosperity is not at odds with environmental protection,” Levine said.
As head of the EPA’s air program, McCarthy designed and implemented the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS), passed in 2011, which set emission limits for power plants. The agency agreed to review those limits after a challenge by industry, however, and the standards are the subject of ongoing lawsuits by companies and counter-suits by non-profits. Last year the EPA pledged to complete MATS rulemaking by this month, Bloomberg reported.
McCarthy also helped establish carbon pollution standards for new vehicles, which the EPA says will nearly double the fuel economy of new cars and light trucks by 2025 and cut carbon pollution of vehicles in half by 2025.
Also under her leadership, the EPA last year proposed the first national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.
McCarthy will likely face stiff opposition from the coal industry, which will take the biggest economic hit from the EPA’s emissions regulations. Mining and utility companies have accused McCarthy of “waging a war on coal,” The New York Times reports, and senators David Vitter of Louisiana and John Barrasso of Wyoming are already launching an opposition campaign against McCarthy, the National Journal reports.