Today President Obama nominated Gina McCarthy to head the EPA. Widely viewed as a critical player in President Obama’s war on climate change, McCarthy’s aggressive policies should concern Americans.
McCarthy, who’s currently assistant adminstrator of the EPA's office of air and radiation, is responsible for some of the most economically-destructive energy and environmental regulations. At the top of the list is her work to increase fuel efficiency standards. While the left often applauds her work in this area, the real cost of fuel efficiency is often seen in human lives. To meet these new requirements, many manufacturers simply make vehicles lighter, so they can go farther on less fuel. For instance, Ford announced a plan to use the much weaker aluminum rather than steel in constructing the F150 truck model. Lighter perhaps, but also more dangerous.
Equally concerning has been her effort to implement the president’s “war on coal,” which threatens to bankrupt plants across the nation and hike electricity prices. As IWF writes a lot about, when government gets in the business of picking winners and losers in the energy industry, it guarantees that consumers lose. To put this in perspective, coal represents nearly a quarter of the total U.S. energy supply – 42 percent of electricity generation – not something we want to simply do away with. We all know there are pluses and minuses to every sector of the energy industry – oil, coal, nuclear, natural gas, wind – but it should be up to the marketplace, not a president, and certainly not government regulators, to determine from where our energy comes. And as the president has been unable to affect change through congressional channels, he is increasingly turning to regulatory agencies like the EPA to do his dirty work.
Though McCarthy has been praised by outlets on the left as bipartisan – having even served under Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Massachusetts – her policies clearly favor an active regulatory state. In fact, before arriving in Washington, McCarthy served as commissioner of Connecticut's environmental protection department from 2004 to 2009, where she helped implement a regional scheme to trade carbon credits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The problem is that it is often very difficult to measure the impact of carbon credits, which businesses may receive for emissions reductions they would have done anyway.
Gina McCarthy’s nomination to head the EPA sends a clear message that the President’s plan is to grow the regulatory state, encumber the economy with rising energy costs, and discourage growth in the energy sector.