McCarthy accepts Dem senator’s hometown invite

Source: Elana Schor, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, February 25, 2014

U.S. EPA chief Gina McCarthy will head to North Dakota on Friday at the request of its junior senator, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp, to discuss the impact of power-plant emissions rules that the lawmaker and many of her constituents vocally oppose.

McCarthy’s visit has its roots during her confirmation hearings last year, when Heitkamp first invited her to the shale-rich state, the senator said yesterday in a statement. The date was more firmly set after Heitkamp criticized EPA for not adding North Dakota to the list of 11 stops on its nationwide tour to hear public comments on carbon limits for new power plants — the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate plan that is slowly advancing through the regulatory process this spring.

In addition to the impact of EPA greenhouse gas rules on her state’s coal industry, Heitkamp said, she also plans to raise long-standing concerns with the agency’s move to tweak the federal renewable fuel standard. Several industry groups have sued EPA over the rule, which requires refiners to blend 16.55 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel in 2013. Of that total, 13.8 billion gallons is to be conventional ethanol and 2.75 billion gallons advanced biofuel not made from cornstarch (Greenwire, Feb. 5)

“I’m looking forward to having meaningful discussions about the need to find a real path forward for coal, and how ethanol provides good jobs and has environmental benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked,” Heitkamp said in a statement on McCarthy’s trip, which is set to include at least some public events.