News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Climate Change Policy to Play a Big Role Under EPA's New Boss

Screenshot from Gina McCarthy's address video | Image: Environmental Protection Agency

Gina McCarthy, the incoming Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), delivered a video address to EPA staff Monday that leaves no doubt addressing climate change will be a priority on her watch.

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In the video address, now making the rounds on social media, McCarthy also mentions the nation's crumbling water quality infrastructure and streamlining chemical pollution regulations, which she says must be brought up to date "to be fair to industry and so that we can say we're protecting the American public."

"We have a clear responsibility to act now on climate change," said McCarthy. "That's what President Obama has called on us and the American people so that [sic] we protect future generations. And he recently said 'The question now is whether we have the courage to act before it's too late.' This agency has the courage to act. We can make it happen. But we need all hands on deck."

Fairly tough words given the climate change denialism still rampant in Washington.

McCarthy was confirmed as EPA administrator Thursday after months of punitive partisan stalling on the part of Republicans in the Senate.

As the D.C. blog The Hill reported earlier this month, the EPA intends to deliver proposed greenhouse gas emission rules for power plants in September. Those are bound to be controversial among coal-friendly Republicans on Capitol Hill. The EPA intends to regulate those greenhouse gas emissions under the federal Clean Air Act. That's a strategy that won a significant legal victory in 2012 when the D.C. Circuit Court ruled the agency had the legal authority to do so, in response to an industry lawsuit claiming that EPA was overstepping its bounds in applying that law to CO2 emissions.

Watch McCarthy's address:

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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