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EPA’s McCarthy: No ‘war on coal’

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Gina McCarthyRegina (Gina) McCarthyEPA halts planned Taiwan trip for Wheeler OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump replaces head of energy regulatory commission | Biden climate agenda would slam into Senate GOP roadblocks | Emails show Park Police reliance on pepper balls, outside police forces during Lafayette protests MORE 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 MaherWilliam (Bill) MaherJuan Williams: Clyburn is my choice as politician of the year Bill Maher, Trump adviser Jenna Ellis spar over election results Carville predicts Biden will quickly be declared winner: 'Not going to be close' MORE,” 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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFive things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs Obama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary Memo to Biden: Go big — use the moment to not only rebuild but to rebuild differently MORE (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.