| WASHINGTON, July 23
WASHINGTON, July 23 U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will field
questions from lawmakers on Wednesday about the agency's plan to
slash carbon pollution from power plants, even as industry
groups seek to derail the proposal.
McCarthy will testify before the Senate Environment and
Public Works committee, where she will discuss the EPA's first
mandatory cuts on carbon in the power sector, the largest source
of domestic emissions.
The Senate panel is deeply divided between some of the
biggest backers of carbon limits and others who question whether
humans contribute to climate change.
The hearing takes place a week before the EPA holds a series
of public meetings on its carbon plan in Denver, Pittsburgh,
Washington and Atlanta.
Pro-energy groups aired a number of concerns in a letter
sent to McCarthy on Tuesday.
The Partnership for a Better Energy Future, a coalition of
some of 163 business organizations formed in January to lobby
against the EPA's proposal, said the proposal would be too
disruptive to the U.S. energy system and should be dumped.
The group also telegraphed potential legal action, arguing
the EPA had overstepped the bounds of the Clean Air Act to
draft its complex rule.
"Even more fundamentally, the proposal is based on a flawed
interpretation of the Clean Air Act. We therefore urge EPA to go
back to the drawing board on this rule," the groups wrote. (here)
The rule sets the country's power sector on a course to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 30 percent
below 2005 levels by 2030.
To achieve that overarching goal, the EPA set individualized
state targets to reduce the carbon intensity of electricity
production below 2012 levels by 2030.
McCarthy is expected to tell senators that the agency has
set targets tailored to each state's needs and capabilities, and
has provided a reasonable amount of time to meet them.
McCarthy is also likely to highlight the hundreds of public
meetings the EPA held before the rule was released, and that the
proposal reflects that input.
Some states like Washington, which have a relatively clean
energy mix, will need to achieve an intensity reduction by 72
percent while coal intensive Kentucky gets an 18 percent goal.
Critics of the EPA plan are likely to hone in on the opaque
process used to set the formulas for each state, the Partnership
told reporters Tuesday.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, Editing by Ros Krasny and Ken