UPDATED (2:48 p.m.) – Sen. Jay Rockefeller praised the president’s prick of Moniz. He said McCarthy has years of experience working with both Democrats and Republicans, but urged her to operate the EPA within its legal jurisdiction. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito decried Obama’s pick of McCarthy, however, deeming it a missed opportunity for the administration.
UPDATED (1:12 p.m.)- Rep. Nick Rahall says the EPA could have benefited from an “outside voice.” Full update is below.
It’s the big news this Monday morning: President Barack Obama will reportedly pick Gina McCarthy to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Ernest Moniz as energy secretary.
McCarthy, 58, currently works as assistant administrator of the EPA’s air and radiation office. As the Washington Post reports:
McCarthy helped usher through many of the EPA’s most contentious rules during Obama’s first term, including regulations curbing mercury and soot emissions from power plants. But she has also cultivated a strong working relationship with members of the business community, dampening much of the opposition her selection might otherwise have encountered.
Moniz is an MIT professor who also worked for the Clinton administration. While Obama has nominated McCarthy and Moniz for the positions, both must be approved by the U.S. Senate before they can take those jobs.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, praised both candidates.
“Dr. Moniz has a great deal of experience as a physicist and former top energy official under President Clinton. He has reiterated the need for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy. I’m hopeful that his support of research into carbon capture and storage for coal means that, if confirmed, Dr. Moniz will help us to advance new technologies to create a strong future for coal. He has also recognized the importance of natural gas which holds great promise for West Virginia’s economy,” he said in a prepared statement.
Rockefeller, a Democrat, said McCarthy has years of experience working on energy and environment issues with both Democrats and Republicans.
“As she’s considered for the post, it’s important to examine if she is willing to maintain our water quality, protect human health, and work together on real solutions to save and create jobs in our state, while also acting within the limits of the EPA’s authority,” he said.
Rep. Nick Rahall, also a Democrat, said in a statement the EPA would be better suited by an “outside voice…rather than an Agency insider,” given that agency’s track record with the coal industry.
“The outgoing head of the EPA took direct aim at coal miner’s jobs and circumvented Congress, targeting and wreaking havoc on the Appalachian economy,” he said.
“I hope that Ms. McCarthy brings an understanding of the need for balance in our energy policies but should she chart the same harmful regulatory course as the previous administrator, I will to fight to the maximum degree against such an ideologically driven agenda that is contrary to the will of Congress, public opinion, and our country’s economic well-being.”
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito said she is “disappointed, but not surprised” by Obama’s pick of McCarthy.
“President Obama has decided to double down on his job killing policies by nominating Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator,” she wrote. “This nomination represents a missed opportunity for the President to chart a new course that balances environmental regulations with the need for jobs in our local communities.”
Capito said McCarthy was the driving force behind the EPA’s regulations against coal, including the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.
“It is a shame the President continues to put his extreme partisan agenda ahead of jobs and energy security in West Virginia and across the country. I will continue to fight for a common sense energy policy that takes advantage of American resources to power our future economy,” Capito said.