EPA leader: Clean Power Plan ‘legally sound’

WASHINGTON, D.C.¬†—¬†Federal EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said Tuesday the finalized Clean Power Plan is “quite legally solid” and should withstand any court challenge.

McCarthy addressed the controversial CPP at the Resources for the Future (RFF) Leadership Forum.

A 16-state consortium led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has announced plans to fight the guidelines aimed at significantly reducing carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants by 2030. West Virginia is facing a 37 percent reduction in emissions which many view as a knockout punch to the coal industry.

Federal EPA administrator Gina McCarthy defended the Clean Power Program on Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

With a court challenge likely pending, McCarthy said: “We feel pretty good about it. We feel it’s very strong and it will stand the test of time in the courts.”

During a question-and-answer session, McCarthy was asked what she would tell coal miners.

“I realize there are communities that are suffering already and that see this rule as bringing more challenges to the table for them. I feel like there is an obligation to address those issues as there is in any economic transition,” she said.

McCarthy supports President Barack Obama’s POWER Plus plan that would allocate $55 million for retraining in coalfield communities.

“They don’t need them by 2030, they need them now,” McCarthy said. “I’m hoping that now that this rule is finalized there will be opportunity to refocus attention on that plan that would substantially benefit those communities and allow appropriate transition of services as economies shift.”

McCarthy also addressed a question about the Clean Power Plan’s future with a new administration after Obama leaves office.

“All of these steps for the most part have been litigated and we are on solid ground and a new administration would hopefully want to continue to support it and I think they will see state plans in and moving forward a significant number by the time there is any transition of administration,” she said

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