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Obama administration not waging war on coal, EPA chief says

Critics say new Obama administration rules to regulate power plants' greenhouse gas emissions will have 'devastating impacts' on the coal industry. But EPA chief Gina McCarthy disagrees.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks at at a breakfast for reporters sponsored by the Monitor in Washington Monday.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says that if Congress fails to pass a stopgap spending measure by the Oct. 1 start of the new budget year, “it will mean that EPA effectively shuts down with only a core group of individuals who are there in the event of a significant emergency.”

Given the agency's role enforcing laws that protect the environment, Administrator McCarthy added, “I don’t think anyone sees that as optimal for the United States to have EPA not fully up and running,” she said at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters.

The EPA chief defended new rules the agency released last week that would set the first national limits on heat-trapping carbon pollution from existing power plants. To meet the new standards, coal-fired plants would have to install expensive new technology to capture a portion of their carbon dioxide emissions and bury them underground. Experts say new gas-fired plans could meet the proposed standards without new technology.

 
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