EPA’s McCarthy: No ‘war on coal’

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Gina McCarthy Tuesday sought to clarify recent comments on her agency’s power plant emissions rules, saying she is not waging a “war on coal.”

In a Friday appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher asked McCarthy if the power plant proposal unveiled June 2 is part of a war on coal. “Actually, EPA is all about fighting against pollution and fighting for public health,” McCarthy responded. “That’s exactly what this is.” 

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he took her response to signify agreement with Maher. Conservative publications reported that McCarthy admitted to the war.

McCarthy fought back on Twitter. 

“Can't be more clear: there is no war on coal. Clean Power Plan is about reducing pollution and fighting for public health,” she tweeted.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia accused people of selectively editing McCarthy’s remarks.

“The administrator was referring to the Clean Power Plan when she said the EPA is all about fighting pollution and fighting for public health, which is exactly what this plan is about,” Purchia said.

The EPA’s plan is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by about 30 percent by 2030. The EPA has estimated that coal will account for about 31 percent of the market for electricity generation fuel in 2030, down from about 39 percent last year. 

The proposal has led to widespread predictions from the coal industry and conservative lawmakers that it will decimate coal, destroying thousands of jobs in the sector and related industries, while removing an important fuel source.