WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal EPA administrator Gina McCarthy told members of a U.S. Senate committee Wednesday the agency is seeking more than $1 billion in the next federal budget for climate change and air quality efforts.
McCarthy said $199.5 million would be specifically for climate change work. The administrator told members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works there’s proof the atmosphere is warming and that is having an impact on the health of Americans.
“What the science tells us is when the temperature gets warmer it increases the level of ozone and that ozone pollution actually has an impact on respiratory health, as well as cardiac health,” she said.
Some of the questioning by committee members focused on recent clean air rules aimed at reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, asked McCarthy about coal.
“We hear about the war on coal and you hear about that is well. Is there a war on coal?”
“Senator, I don’t think that’s fair to say,” McCarthy answered. “What we’re trying to do is our job to protect public health by reducing pollution from some of the largest sources.”
McCarthy’s work at EPA was applauded by some committee members including committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California. She said some Republicans are opposed to everything the EPA does.
“People are not with the Republicans on this,” Boxer said. “Seventy-five percent of Americans say the U.S. should take action on climate change even if other nations do not. Because they’re smart. We don’t wait on China to decide how to treat our people, or our economy, or human rights.”
McCarthy did pledge the EPA plans to further work with utilities and individual states on clean air issues.
McCarthy is scheduled to go before the U.S. House Appropriations Committee Thursday with the agency’s budget plans.