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Gina McCarthy, EPA
"Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs?"
For three decades, I've tried to persuade as many people as will listen that the environment and the economy are not separate entities but inextricably entangled with one another. So, Gina McCarthy's speech Tuesday at Harvard Law School gave me something to smile about. As reported by Shira Schoenberg, the newly confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency made that connection a focal point:
McCarthy [...] said the country must move beyond a discussion about whether there is an inherent conflict between the environment and the economy to understand how climate change and environmental protection fit into a global environmental and economic agenda.

“Our future depends on an economy that moves beyond that dichotomy and recognizes the limitations of the world’s resources are real, the fragility of world’s ecosystems are real, the threats posed by pollution and a changing climate are real,” McCarthy said. “To turn those challenges around, we need a strong, sustainable economy that embraces these issues and behaves in accordance with what we know of science, the environment, technology and public health.”

“Today we need to embrace cutting carbon pollution as a way to spark business innovation,” to create jobs and stimulate the economy, McCarthy said.

McCarthy said the EPA under her guidance will work with various labor and faith communities, state and local governments, and representatives of business in this embrace. “It is about getting everybody to think collaboratively and work together."

Given that much of industry and its marionettes in Congress have done everything possible in the past dozen years—including prolific lying—to obstruct EPA action on climate change, collaboration seems a lofty goal. But McCarthy pointed to the development of stricter CAFE standards for automobiles as a model for getting everyone on board.

Among other things, she said:

• "Climate change will not be resolved overnight. But it will be engaged over the next three years—that I can promise you."

• "Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs? Please, at least for today. Let's talk about this as an opportunity of a lifetime, because there are too many lifetimes at stake."

• "[New vehicle fuel efficiency standards and brownfields clean-ups] are concrete examples of how EPA is having a substantive positive impact on the lives of everyday people across the U.S., and doing so in way that doesn’t slow the economy but in many ways sparks economic growth.”

• Of drafting regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired plants—"It is not supposed to be easy. It is supposed to be hard. I don't think it is my job out of the gate to know what the path forward is. It is my obligation to let those voices be heard and listen to them."

• Even though the EPA has called the much-disputed State Department-commissioned environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL "insufficient," it was no surprise that McCarthy did not voice a position on whether the pipeline should be built. “The best EPA can do is continue to be an honest commenter on the environmental impact statement, which we’ve done our best to do. We’ll continue to do that and work with the administration as difficult decisions are made.”

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Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 01:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Daily Kos.

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