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EPA chief's goals: 'Explain the science' and obey the laws

At a Monitor-hosted breakfast with reporters, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she did not intend to be the 'energy policy person,' but someone who applied existing law.

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Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks at the St. Regis Hotel on Monday.

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor

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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was confirmed as the US Environmental Protection Agency's chief in July. She was the guest at the Sept. 23 Monitor Breakfast.

Her goals at the EPA:

"My whole goal will be to try to explain the science and to do what we are supposed to do under the law. I do not intend to be the energy policy person. I intend to work collaboratively with ... states."

If Congress fails to pass a funding bill by Oct. 1:

"It will mean that the EPA effectively shuts down, with only a core group of individuals who are there in the event of a significant emergency."

The EPA's recently released rules on carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants:

"This is not an energy policy statement. This is not an ideological statement. This is the application of a currently existing law in a way that it was supposed to be applied."

Dealing with the expected challenges to the power plant rules:

"Our best defense is to do it right. To do it correctly under the law. To explain why we did it as carefully as we can. To make sure it is legally defensible, [that] it is technically accurate."

Water-quality concerns from the use of hydraulic fracturing in gas well drilling:

"On the water side, we think there are data gaps.... That does not in any way indicate that natural gas and fracking can't continue in a safe and responsible way."

The law the EPA uses to review the safety of chemicals used in commerce:

"There is a broad consensus that ... a major statute we use for these issues is broken and ineffective. We need statutory change."

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