Senate panel to probe EPA’s power plant rule

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will testify next week in defense of the Obama administration’s proposal to impose new greenhouse gas limits on power plants currently in operation.

McCarthy will appear Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, the panel’s chairman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), announced Friday.

She will be the only witness; the hearing will be webcast here at 9:30 a.m.

Unveiled last month, the existing power plant rule is perhaps the most contentious regulation proposed by the Obama administration to date and is a cornerstone of the president’s climate change initiative.

The rule requires power plants to slash their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, reducing harmful pollutants in the air and improving public health.

Industry groups and congressional Republicans counter that the rule will decimate the coal industry and harm the economy in exchange for negligible reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions.

Those accusations have been hurled at top EPA officials in House hearings since the plan was unveiled. But McCarthy stands to have a more receptive audience on the other side of Capitol Hill Wednesday, because Boxer, a vocal supporter of the plan, will control the hearing. 

More in E2-Wire

Five threats to the EPA’s climate rule

Read more »