Energy & Environment

Democrat presses EPA administrator on climate rule pace: ‘How long do you think you have?’

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) gives an opening statement during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Monday, March 21, 2022.
Anna Rose Layden

A Democratic senator on Wednesday pressed the Biden administration about why it has yet to complete certain climate regulations, raising concerns about how long it is taking. 

In a rare moment of intraparty tension, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) questioned EPA Administrator Michael Regan about how long it is taking the agency to develop new climate regulations for pollution sources including power plants, chemical plants, oil refineries and aircrafts.

“How long do you think you have?” Whitehouse asked. 

In response, Regan said the agency only had limited resources and blamed “the state that the EPA found itself in when President Biden was elected.”

“Since I’ve been there for the past year, we’ve got staff working nights and weekends,” the administrator said. “I’m really proud of the record that we have when you look at the rules that we have proposed and finalized within the first year of the Biden administration.”

“I’m am damn proud of what this agency has done over the past year with the resources that we have,” he added. 

“The problem is that in an emergency, effort doesn’t count, results count,” Whitehouse shot back. 

On power plants in particular, Regan noted an ongoing Supreme Court case that could limit which tools the agency has at its disposal. 

“We’re going to be ready to go as soon as the Supreme Court rules,” he said. 

Whitehouse also asked Regan whether it was fair to say the agency’s proposed regulation for heavy-duty trucks and buses is “weaker than California’s and does not require increased zero-emission trucks and buses.”

Regan described the rule as “step one” and said there would be “multiple steps” for regulating heavy-duty vehicles.

Tags climate regulations Environmental Protection Agency EPA Joe Biden Michael Regan Michael Regan President Joe Biden Sheldon Whitehouse Sheldon Whitehouse

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