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Friday, June 06, 2014

Environment - "EPA's McCabe begins carbon rule roadshow at home in Indiana"

That is the headline to this lengthy June 5th E&E EnergyWire story by Jeffrey Tomich that begins:

INDIANAPOLIS -- Forty-eight hours after proposing the most ambitious step yet to combat climate change, U.S. EPA opened its roadshow to help explain its power plant rule to dozens of state utility regulators.

In a speech yesterday morning to the Mid-America Regulatory Conference here, EPA's acting air chief Janet McCabe largely repeated the agency's message in telephone briefings Monday -- that it will achieve the Obama administration's goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions while providing states the flexibility in approach and timing that they had sought.

McCabe also continued to underscore related environmental benefits that will come from reducing energy use and altering the mix of fuels used to produce power.

"When you reduce carbon from the power sector, there will be some very significant co-benefits that come along with that," she said, referring to estimated reductions in emissions of other pollutants. "These will bring immediate local and regional health benefits to everyone in the country."

For McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, the appearance at the conference wasn't so much a road trip as a homecoming.

McCabe lives in Indianapolis. Prior to going to work for the federal government, she led Improving Kids Environment Inc., a children's environmental health advocacy group. Before that, she spent a dozen years working for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Office of Air Quality and helped the state implement several strategies under the Clean Air Act -- much like the plans that states will have to develop to meet the carbon rule.

Those who worked with McCabe in that role in Indiana described her as an effective and pragmatic regulator who was accessible to the public even in the face of pressure from industry.

"I think she was one of the best, if not the best assistant administrators that IDEM has ever had," said Grant Smith, who spent 30 years at Citizens Action Coalition, an environmental and consumer advocacy group in Indiana.

"It's always good for people in her position to be responsive to the public and that's difficult in the political climate in Indiana."

McCabe, in fact, said she drew on her experience as a state environmental regulator in helping craft the proposed carbon rule.

In particular, the experience led her to push for giving states additional time -- an extra year for states developing plans on their own and two years for multistate groups -- to finalize implementation strategies.

"I was one of the loudest voices on this because I used to develop these plans," she said.

See also yesterday's ILB post on how much each state has to cut carbon emissions under the new federal regs.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 6, 2014 09:59 AM
Posted to Environment