Legislators weigh in on EPA nominee

WASHINGTON – The president’s nominee for administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency got a mixed reaction from West Virginia congressmen on Monday.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, said she was disappointed with Gina McCarthy’s nomination to succeed Lisa Jackson, who is considered anti-coal by industry advocates.

McCarthy once was an adviser on environmental issues to Mitt Romney, the Republican candiate for president in 2012.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that President Obama has decided to double down on his job-killing policies by nominating Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator,” Capito said. “Ms. McCarthy was the force behind many of the anti-coal regulations issued by this administration, including the (Cross State Air Pollution) rule that was struck down as unlawful by a federal appeals court.”

The nomination was a missed opportunity for the president to chart a new course that balances environmental regulations with the need for jobs in our local communities. Coal jobs are not the only ones put at risk by the president’s environmental policy,” Capito said.

Another study issued Friday found the Keystone pipeline would have no significant environmental impact, yet the president continues to delay approval of a project that will create thousands of American jobs and improve energy security at a time when gas prices climb higher and higher, Capito said.

“It is a shame the president continues to put his extreme partisan agenda ahead of jobs and energy security in West Virginia and across the country. I will continue to fight for a common sense energy policy that takes advantage of American resources to power our future economy,” Capito said.

Jackson took aim at coal miner’s jobs and circumvented Congress, targeting and wreaking havoc on the Appalachian economy, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-3rd, said.

“It is because of this destructive track record that I believe the country would have benefited greatly from an outside voice at EPA rather than an Agency insider,” he said. “I hope that Ms. McCarthy brings an understanding of the need for balance in our energy policies but should she chart the same harmful regulatory course as the previous Administrator, I will to fight to the maximum degree against such an ideologically driven agenda that is contrary to the will of Congress, public opinion and our country’s economic well-being.”

McCarthy has experience working on energy and environment issues for both Democrats and Republicans, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said.

“As she’s considered for the post, it’s important to examine if she is willing to maintain our water quality, protect human health, and work together on real solutions to save and create jobs in our state, while also acting within the limits of the EPA’s authority,” Rockefeller said.

Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., will not make any statement on her appointment, Jim Forbes, McKinley’s press spokesman, said. McKinley has been a vocal critic of the EPA.

A comment from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was not immediately available.