OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA chief on-the-record, next week's action, and more

EPA’s MCCARTHY DEFENDS CLIMATE RULES: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy touted her agency’s power plant carbon emissions rules in an interview with "PBS NewsHour's" Judy Woodruff on Thursday.

She pushed back against GOP and industry allegations that the agency is waging a "war on coal." Instead, McCarthy said, the emissions standards for new plants, by forcing use of emissions control technologies, will give coal a "pathway forward" and a way to stay relevant.

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"Our proposed rule on future power plants really looks at technology that we believe is available today. Now it is not without cost, but what you are looking at is providing a certain pathway for every type of diverse fuel that it is available today and making sure they have a place in a carbon-constrained future," she said.

MCCARTHY SAYS KEYSTONE ISN’T BE-ALL-END-ALL: McCarthy wouldn’t speculate about whether the Obama administration will approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a decision that her agency isn’t making.

But she pushed back against the idea that approval of Keystone would undercut the administration’s other green efforts. “We have been making great strides forward. No one project is going to take that away from us,” McCarthy said.

“Nothing is going to undercut the fact that this administration has doubled fuel economy, which decreases the amount of greenhouse gases from mobile sources,” she said on PBS, referring to toughened auto mileage rules the administration has finalized.

“We have shown time and time again that we are addressing the challenges of today in a way that continue to grow the economy, but is really getting at the pollution that is most dangerous for people: Mercury, arsenic, carbon, these are things that we have been challenging wholeheartedly and aggressively,” McCarthy said.

AL GORE TALKS KEYSTONE . . . The latest stop on Al Gore's recent speech blitz was Thursday’s big conference hosted by the Center for American Progress, a prominent liberal think tank.

Gore fired up the lefty crowd with a blistering attack on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, repeating his recent claims that it’s an “atrocity” and urging President Obama to kill it. 

“This should be vetoed. It is an atrocity. It is a threat to our future,” Gore said, and compared tapping oil sands to doing drugs.

“Our addiction to these high-intensity, dirty carbon-based fuels — you know junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and legs give out. We are now at the point where we are going after these ridiculously dirty and dangerous carbon-based dirty fuels. We have got to stop that,” he said.

. . . JOHN KERRY DOESN'T. Secretary of State John Kerry gave a wide-ranging speech at the Center for American Progress event. 

But Kerry, whose department is reviewing TransCanada Corp.’s permit application, didn’t venture into the topic and didn’t take questions.

He did talk up green energy as the way to fight climate change, arguing the U.S. should seize the opportunity to lead in those markets.

“The question is whether America will lead the $6 trillion global energy economy,” Kerry said.

“Energy policy is the solution to global climate change, a $6 trillion market. The market that made America rich in the 1990s was a $1 trillion market with 1 billion users. The energy market is a $6 trillion market with about 5 billion users, and it’s going to rise to 9 billion users over the next 20, 30 years,” he said.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire on Thursday...

- House GOP presses federal agencies for climate change plans  
- Obama's former climate czar predicts president will reject Keystone XL 
- State Department to hand over Keystone XL docs to enviro group
- Oil lobby demands Congress repeal renewable fuel standards regulation
- Energy secretary sees Capitol Hill thaw on climate change
- Advocates see 'glimmer of hope' for chemical law reform
EPA chief recalls 'oh s--t' moment on climate change
- GOP bill would prevent national park closure in next shutdown

 

LOOKING AHEAD: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will renew its focus on energy policy next week after looking today at the huge problems with the ObamaCare enrollment website.

On Tuesday one sub-panel will explore legislation to expedite energy projects — like pipelines and transmission — that cross the U.S.-Canada border, while a second will explore the effect of EPA regulations on “coal communities.”

Elsewhere, offshore oil-and-gas drilling safety in the wake of the 2010 BP disaster will get renewed attention next week.

The National Research Council will release a report Monday on the Interior Department’s efforts to ensure use of the “best available and safest” technologies.

“After the Macondo well blowout and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the U.S. Department of the Interior sought to improve its approach for implementing a decades-old congressional mandate that directs the U.S. secretary of the Interior to require the use of technologies deemed best available and safest — as well as economically feasible — for offshore oil and gas drilling and production,” an advisory states.

“Best Available and Safest Technologies for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations: Options for Implementation, a new report by the National Research Council, identifies a range of implementation approaches for the mandate,” it adds.

 

AROUND THE WEB:

The New York Times reports on state efforts to boost deployment of electric vehicles.

The Oregonian has the latest on the Energy Department's troubled Bonneville Power Administration.

The Associated Press reports on pension funds' concerns about climate change.

 

Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, or Laura Barron-Lopez,  laurab@thehill.com