One of Gina McCarthy’s biggest obstacles to becoming EPA administrator vanished Tuesday after Sen. David Vitter came out against a filibuster on her nomination.
The move is a big step forward for President Barack Obama’s climate change policies, which will rely on McCarthy to lead the agency in crafting long-awaited rules for throttling greenhouse gas emissions from current and future power plants. McCarthy is now head of the agency’s air office, which is in charge of writing those regulations…
Vitter said in his statement that EPA has agreed to the following steps to ease his objections:
— EPA will retrain its workforce on complying with Freedom of Information Act requests and issue new guidance on maintaining records and use of personal email accounts.
— EPA has begun efforts to provide the committee with data that backs several health studies that are highly significant to EPA’s air pollution policies. Much of the data in the hands of private research institutions or encoded for personal health information, and the agency is still working on gathering that information. “For the first time we should be able to determine if there is any way of independently re-analyzing the science and benefits claims for a suite of major air regulations,” Vitter said in a statement.
— EPA has agreed to convene a panel of experts to look at “whole economy modeling,” which would look at the economic impact of regulations on a much wider scale.
— The agency has two new websites where it posts legal notices from groups that intend to sue the agency and petitions the agency gets asking EPA to put out new regulations.