EPA Official Says Environmental Regulations are Necessary and Good for Business

A top official in the Environmental Protection Agency says protecting the environment is good for business, and federal standards don’t go far enough. Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air Gina McCarthy made the comments during a Festival of Faiths event in Louisville.

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McCarthy says the main job of the EPA is to provide protection to public health and the environment, but that EPA policies shouldn’t affect the economy negatively. And she says that is exactly what the Obama Administration is trying to do.

“We are being told that if you move forward to protect the environment you are by necessity slowing down the economy,” she said. “That is simply not true. We have an environmental technology industry in this country that rivals the pharmaceutical industry. It’s big. Why do you think it’s big? We made it that way!”

McCarthy also addressed upcoming EPA air rules regulating mercury, which is set to be finalized by December. She says the rule will provide incredible benefits to public health. Despite resistance from utility companies, McCarthy says the new rule doesn’t mean an end to coal-fired electricity.

“You can do it,” she said. “There are strategies involved. But what it will say is that if you have an old small coal facility that’s only competitive because you’ve never put on modern controls and you’re competing against all of those who have and you’re winning, that it’s time for that to stop.”

McCarthy says the mercury rule is about utilities taking responsibility for their pollution and creating a level playing field for greener energy.

To listen to a discussion after McCarthy’s address including McCarthy, author Wendell Berry, Warren Muir of the National Academies and sustainability and spirituality author Roger Gottlieb, click below.

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