Thursday, May 16, 2013

Senate EPW Votes 10-8 To Nominate McCarthy As EPA Head

May 16: Following last week's boycott by Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee [See WIMS 5/9/13], the GOP Members attended today's meeting and unanimously voted against the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be the next Administrator of the U.S. EPA. The 10 Democrats also attended and voted to move the nomination forward for consideration by the full Senate.
    Senator David Vitter (R-LA), the Ranking Member of the EPW Committee issued a statement saying that Republicans would attend the meeting. He said that at his meeting yesterday with acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe, EPA committed to take additional steps forward in fulfilling the transparency requests of the Senate EPW Committee Republicans. Vitter responded this morning in a letter saying, "Because these steps forward are significant, we want to thank you and acknowledge progress, including by moving forward with the Committee mark-up of Gina's nomination. Because these steps forward are limited, and do not include everything required under the law, we want to request additional progress, and the EPA's follow through will determine how this nomination process goes forwards. We'll absolutely be holding the EPA to it."
    Sen. Vitter specifically said in his letter, "Should major additional progress be made in all of the five categories over the next two weeks, I will strongly support handling the McCarthy nomination on the Senate floor without a cloture vote or any 60 vote threshold. Should all of our requests in the five categories be granted, I will support the McCarthy nomination." The five categories identified and outlined in the letter include: Email and FOIA Policy; Unredacted Emails; Underlying Research Data; Economic Analysis; and "Sue-and-Settle." The letter summarizes the specific "agreed to" actions under each category.
    In a related matter,  the American Petroleum Institute (API) Downstream Group Director Bob Greco sent a letter to Sen. Vitter refuting what he called, "inaccurate and misleading statements" about the research being conducted by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) made by EPA administrator nominee Gina McCarthy in a recent letter.  Greco indicated that McCarthy said EPA and DOE were "denied" a role in the extensive testing on E15 -- a mixture of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline -- by the CRC that found the fuel could be dangerous for millions of cars on the road today.
   Greco said, "The record shows that before and during the CRC mid-level ethanol blends research program, EPA and DOE played significant roles either directly or through the U.S. national laboratories. . . CRC is a research organization that has been conducting research on fuels, engines and vehicles for more than 70 years. The CRC tests are developed and managed by the same company automotive engineers who design and build cars. We have great confidence in the ability of the automotive and fuels experts who sit on CRC committees to conduct well-conceived and thorough technical investigations of consumer acceptance and vehicle safety-related issues associated with the use of mid-level ethanol blends in vehicles operated by our mutual customers. . . The key objective for the oil and the auto industries in undertaking the comprehensive CRC mid-level ethanol blends research program was to ensure that the safety and performance of our mutual customers' vehicles are not compromised or otherwise adversely affected by E15. CRC met those goals -- EPA and DOE did not."
    Access a webcast of today's nomination meeting (click here). Access the statement from Sen. Vitter and the letter to Perciasepe (click here). Access a release from API with links to related information including the letters (click here). [#All]
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