McCarthy promises collaborative, commonsense approach at EPA

Gina McCarthy pledged to use a collaborative, commonsense approach if the US Senate confirms her nomination to become the US Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator.

“We have already seen that the greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for cars and other light duty vehicles will save American families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs and the American economy 12 billion bbl of oil and will eliminate 6 billion tonnes of carbon pollution—all while addressing a major source of greenhouse gas emissions,” she told the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Apr. 11.

The standards, which reflect the joint work of states, the automobile industry and labor, and the federal government, show that environmental protections do not come solely out of government or out of Washington, DC, said McCarthy, who has been EPA’s assistant administrator for air and administration for the past 4 years.

“They happen in our states and in our cities, and in our businesses, through innovation and through the initiatives of regular people taking commonsense steps to make their factories run better, their products perform better, and their communities better places to live,” she said in her written testimony.

McCarthy said that EPA’s efforts to determine potential environmental impacts from emissions at natural gas wells where hydraulic fracturing is used also demonstrate the agency’s collaborative and commonsense approach.

‘Listened carefully’

“In setting out to develop those standards, we listened carefully to the companies large and small that drill and operate production wells—as well as to the states and communities that both benefit from the production and are affected by the emissions,” she told the committee.

“We did our best to be good listeners, and the resulting standards adopted the best practices already in use by leading companies and states, provided the time the industry needed to come into compliance, and offered a streamlined approach to permitting that was adapted to the unique needs of fracing operations and avoided duplication with already existing state permitting and reporting,” McCarthy said.

The standards will result in more sellable product in the pipeline for companies while reducing up to 290,000 tons of harmful volatile organic compound emissions, with a side benefit of reducing methane emissions equivalent to 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, without slowing down oil and gas development, she indicated.

“I have done my best to keep my door open to businesses, environmental advocates, local communities, the states, tribes, labor and the public at large,” McCarthy said. “As a result, I have been rewarded time and again, with information and insights that have led to the development of smarter, more cost—effective rules, and better designed and implemented policies and programs to build partnerships and enhance collaboration.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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