The Ins and Outs of the EPA on WHYY's Radio Times
WHYY Radio Times host Mary Moss-Coane spoke to energy reporters Erica Martinson from POLITICO Pro and John Cushman, Jr. from InsideClimate News Wednesday morning about the role of the Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama Administration. If you missed the broadcast, you can listen here.
The conversation began with a look at the EPA’s latest proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions from all future power plants. It’s a major part of President Obama’s plan to tackle climate change, but next year, the Supreme Court will rule on whether or not the EPA has the authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources like coal- and natural gas-fired power plants.
Reporter Erica Martinson who frequently covers the EPA from Washington said the new rules have resulted in an outcry from the coal industry, noting that a number of “clean coal” groups are planning a rally outside the Capitol next week. One caller asked if the EPA takes the impact of regulations into account to which reporter John Cushman replied by explaining that the agency does “exhaustive” cost benefit analyses.
But the big change, both for the EPA and for the coal industry, Martinson said, has been the “explosion of the natural gas industry” over the last five years. Today, the EPA released its third set of data on greenhouse gas emissions showing carbon pollution from power plants has decreased by 10 percent from the increased use of natural gas. (Some environmentalists have warned that methane released by natural gas may be more powerful at warming the planet than carbon dioxide.)
The EPA’s stance on climate change has led to some accusations from proponents of the energy industry that the agency has sided with environmentalists.
“Their job is to protect the environment and human health is the huge driver,” Martinson said.