EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) regarding EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. McCarthy wrote in her testimony that, “The science is clear. The risks are clear. And the high costs of climate inaction are clear.” McCarthy stated the proposed plan “will cut hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution and hundreds of thousands of tons of other harmful air pollutants from existing power plants.” She continued on to say that these reductions will provide health benefits to the most vulnerable citizens, including children. She testified the proposed rule will not change the fact that coal and natural gas will continue to play a significant role in our nation’s energy future. The administrator wrote that the plan will deliver climate and health benefits of up to $90 billion dollars by 2030.
During the Q&A portion of the hearing, Sens. Vitter (R-LA) and Barrasso (R-WY) went on the attack against McCarthy and who helped shape the proposed rule. Specifically, the two senators wanted to know how much influence the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) had in shaping the rule because as Sen. Vitter noted the proposed rule is very similar to NRDC’s proposal. Administrator McCarthy said NRDC’s influence on the proposed rule is being overstated. Sen. Wicker (R-MS) said the proposed rule would likely force his state’s coal-fired power fleet to shut down and be very harmful to the economy.