Today the Senate held a confirmation hearing for Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Heritage has provided its own questions for nominee McCarthy.
If confirmed, and if her past statements are indicative of future actions, McCarthy’s tenure at the EPA will continue to lead our nation down a path of stifled energy and job creation, a federally micromanaged economy, and restricted consumer choice for little to zero environmental gain.
Here are a few of McCarthy’s most egregious statements and Heritage’s response:
On the role of the EPA: “But I will tell you that I didn’t go to Washington to sit around and wait for Congressional action. Never done that before, and don’t plan to in the future.”
Heritage’s take: This activist mentality is not appropriate for an agency administrator and indicates that the EPA will continue go around our elected officials to implement costly and burdensome regulations. Using the EPA’s conservative estimations, its 20 “major regulations” will cost over $7 billion in initial compliance costs alone. Of course, the EPA is notorious for understating costs and overstating benefits.
On CO2 emissions: “Greenhouse gas pollution, through its contribution to global climate change, presents a significant threat to Americans’ health and to the environment upon which our economy and security depends.”
Heritage’s take: Even if one contends that carbon emissions contribute significantly to global warming, the EPA’s carbon reduction policies have almost no effect on the earth’s temperature or overall global emissions, a truth affirmed by former administrator Lisa Jackson. But there is a direct connection between environmental health and economic health—precisely what overregulation stunts.
On hydraulic fracturing (fracking): “Because these [EPA air emissions] regulations rely on technologies and practices that are already in use by some companies and required by some states, they are practical, flexible, affordable and achievable. Natural gas is key to our clean energy future.”
Heritage’s take: The EPA and Department of Interior’s proposed fracking regulations will weigh down one of the most productive sectors of the American economy with rules that duplicate what states are already doing to manage the practice.
On energy efficiency: “These motor vehicle regulations are a great success story for this country. They will save consumers and small businesses money; they will lower the cost of transporting goods; they will reduce our dependence on foreign oil; and they will help protect the environment.”
Heritage’s take: Efficiency standards for vehicles and appliances may be a success story for federal micromanagers, but not for consumers and businesses. They take choices and preferences away from the individual and unnecessarily place them in the hands of the federal government. Families and businesses know how to save money and are cognizant of their energy costs. When consumers do not take full advantage of efficiency gains, it is because they are weighing other factors that influence their decision making. When the federal government arbitrarily places one of those factors over others, it makes consumers worse off.
As Heritage’s Nick Loris and Katie Tubb explain:
At a time when the EPA needs change, McCarthy seems to offer more of the same activist approach and micromanagement from Washington. Energy pursuits and environmental health are not mutually exclusive.
The bottom line is that the American economy doesn’t need another four years of the EPA’s regulatory attack. Although the EPA’s regulations provide no substantial improvement in our environmental well-being, they do have a devastating effect on the economy, which will last far beyond when Obama leaves office.