Tuesday, June 02, 2009
By Robin Bravender
The Senate confirmed Gina McCarthy as U.S. EPA's top air official today after her nomination was held up for a month by Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso over concerns about the Obama administration's climate policies.
McCarthy, President Obama's pick to serve as assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, was approved this morning by a voice vote.
Barrasso released his procedural "hold" on McCarthy late last month, but he voiced his lingering concerns today as the Senate prepared to vote on her nomination.
The Wyoming senator said McCarthy had failed to appropriately respond to questions about how EPA plans to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Barrasso said his concerns stemmed from the agency's recent release of its proposed "endangerment" finding, which states that greenhouse gases threaten public health and welfare. The finding is expected to trigger broad industry regulations if finalized.
"I have nothing personal against the nominee; I simply want to have answers to questions" about EPA's climate regulations, Barrasso said on the Senate floor.
Barrasso warned that widespread litigation would aim to force EPA to regulate entities like farms, hospitals and nursing homes, and could hurt businesses and consumers amid the economic downturn. "The economic consequences of this ticking time bomb will be devastating," Barrasso said....(Click for remainder.)