McCarthy began her speech by thanking President Obama for his "willingness to nominate and stand by me." She immediately got into the subject of climate change and said, ". . .the president had the courage and the vision during this whole process to stand up in 100 plus degree weather at Georgetown University to give what is clearly the most important speech on climate change that any American president has ever given in which he called on all of us to take action [See WIMS 6/25/13 & See WIMS 6/26/13]. Most notable he told EPA to work with states, tribes, local governments, utilities, unions, folks in environmental and energy organizations, NGOs, the faith community and others to move ahead with rules to reduce GHG emissions from new and existing power plants. He challenges us to make sure that this effort continued the development of homegrown energy while steadily and responsibly taking steps to cut carbon pollution. That way we would protect our kids' health and begin to slow the effects of climate change leaving a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. And he told all agencies to work with communities to ensure that they are resilient enough to adapt to a changing climate. That speech is what stewardship and leadership is all about. . ."
In reviewing some of the history of EPA, McCarthy said, "Between 1970 and 2011, aggregate emissions of common air pollutants dropped 68 percent while the U.S. Gross Domestic Product grew 212 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 167 percent, and the U.S. population grew 52 percent. So, the bad things went down while the good things went up. That sounds pretty good so far. Right? In fact, from 1970 through 1990 programs under the clean air act have helped prevent: -More than 205 thousand premature deaths; - 843 thousand asthma attacks; [and] -18 million child respiratory illnesses.". . . And according to our analysis, benefits of the clean air act in 2020 will outweigh the costs by a ratio of more than 30-to-1. .
"Since the Brownfields program's inception in 1995 and through June of 2013, EPA has provided tools to communities and tribes to assist them in making more than 41,550 acres ready for reuse. This helped create more than 93,100 jobs for cleanup and redevelopment activities, and leverage more than $20.8 billion in economic development. Based on historical data and grantee reporting, every $1 of the EPA Brownfields funding leverages between $17 and $18 in other public and private funding to advance cleanup and development of these properties."
". . .regardless of these proven successes, EPA is facing significant challenges. And we have to be ready not just to tout the successes we have accomplished, but to convince the American public that we are taking advantage of the best thinking, the newest technologies, the most cost-effective, sustainable solutions to meet their needs and our mission moving forward. That means understanding how climate change solutions and other and environmental protections fit as part of a sound national and global environmental and economic agenda. . .
"For too long we have been focused on a false choice: between the health of our children and the health of our economy and we have endlessly debated that choice even in the face of 43 years of documented history that proved that it just ain't so. Today, the truth we need to embrace is that cutting carbon pollution will spark business innovation, will grow jobs, and will strengthen the economy. . .
"As more businesses embrace the 'opportunity' of climate change, I see additional public and private sector investment being leveraged to support infrastructure and clean energy -- and these investments will, in turn, fuel the complementary goals of turning America into a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. You see it too right? Last month when he unveiled his plan, President Obama made the case for urgent efforts to tackle climate change this way - he said and I quote: 'The question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. And how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind.' . . . Other countries have recognized the potential in clean energy and are making historic investments in their advancements. Last year, China alone invested a record $67.7 billion in clean energy - 20 percent more than they invested in 2011. Can the U.S. afford to not make that same level of commitment?. . .
"And I know as well as anyone, that when it comes to cutting carbon, there is a lot we can learn from our states. Nearly a dozen states have already implemented or are implementing their own market-based reduction programs. More than 25 have set energy efficiency targets. More than 35 have set renewable energy targets. And over 1,000 mayors across the country have signed agreements to cut carbon pollution in their cities. These local and state officials are the leading edge in this effort, and we at EPA want to build on and compliment these efforts already underway. . .
"Innovation is exactly what's going to help solve the environmental challenges we face today. EPA will be looking at the challenges ahead with our eyes wide open relying on smart, strategic, partnerships, collaboration, and ongoing engagement. We will approach each challenge with flexible and sustainable solutions using a pragmatic and common sense compass to guide our way. And I am confident we will succeed. We can and will continue to make a real, positive difference on the ground in communities around the country. That is the true measure of our success. . .
"Increased drought conditions are already challenging our communities, while more frequent and intense storms are straining our ability to manage stormwater runoff, to deliver safe drinking water and to ensure proper wastewater treatment. Our pipes and water treatment systems were not built to manage the record-breaking storms that are becoming ever-more frequent. But as the President said, working here at home to update our cities and our infrastructure means local jobs. To close, I have little doubt about the continued critical importance of EPA and its mission. If EPA executes its duties and responsibilities effectively, we have a good chance of becoming an integral part of a sound, sustainable economy that will shape our future. And EPA has a good chance to support our nation's ongoing economic recovery by protecting our air, water, and land - for ourselves and our children. . ."