August 22, 2013
In a 22 July 2013 video message to her staff, newly confirmed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy, said “The EPA has a clear responsibility to act now on climate change,” according to a report from The Hill’s E2 Wire.
McCarthy, who was confirmed to replace Lisa Jackson, said the EPA has reached a “defining time” in its history as it prepares to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA’s efforts to limit emissions from new and existing power plants are at the heart of President Obama’s plan to tackle climate change.
The plan has drawn strong criticism from industry groups and Republican lawmakers, who warn the rules will stifle the economy and put utilities out of business. Industry groups are fighting the emissions limits for new power plants in court and are expected to mount a similar challenge when the EPA issues rules for power plants that already exist.
Green groups, liberal Democrats and public health organizations have applauded the EPA’s efforts. They say the agency’s actions have helped clean up the air and water, in turn, slowing the effects of climate change and improving people’s health.
What this means to you
The Obama Administration intends to bypass Congress and use the regulatory powers granted by law to the EPA to lower GHG emissions. Power generation facilities are the primary target. Other GHG emission sources will likely also be included.