Gina McCarthy Facing Battle With GOP Over Climate Change - Who Will Blink First?

The head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy, has promised to protect climate change regulations despite Republican opposition. The EPA will be a major target for the newly elected Republican majorities in both the Senate and House, and McCarthy and the president are preparing for a difficult battle.

New Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he will fight climate change regulations any way he can. Top priority for the GOP may be the Clean Power Plan, which would cut U.S. emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 by setting stricter standards for newly built power plants and requiring modifications on existing plants. McCarthy said they are also planning new tougher restrictions on methane, another gas that contributes to climate change.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the GOP plans to bring out the big guns against Gina McCarthy's EPA. Mitch McConnell has indicated that he will put language restricting the EPA into "must pass" legislation, like the budget, to either force the president to engage in constant show-downs or revoke his policies on climate change.

Gina McCarthy told the Christian Science Monitor that she knows that the president has her back through this difficult time.

"I feel very confident that the president has the best interests of the EPA in mind, and he's made very clear what his priorities are. There may be challenges ahead, but the president will do the right thing."
President Obama recently pledged to cut emissions with Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping, giving Gina McCarthy another assurance that he is committed to protecting the EPA. The pledge is another target for the Republican party. Mitch McConnell alleges that the deal essentially allows China to do nothing for 16 years, another idea McCarthy rejects.

Republican senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma says that the people have spoken, and they disagree with Gina McCarthy and President Obama.

"The American people spoke against the President's climate policies in this last election. As we enter a new Congress, I will do everything in my power to rein in and shed light on the EPA's unchecked regulations."
Senator Inhofe, who is one of the biggest climate change skeptics in Congress, will likely chair the subcommittee in charge of overseeing the EPA.

At the center of coming governmental battle is the "war on coal," the idea that the administration is trying to shut down the coal industry and destroy thousands of jobs. Gina McCarthy says that's not what's happening, instead cheaper solar, wind and natural gas prices are eating into the coal industries revenue.

Regardless of the resistance, Gina McCarthy says she will continue to do her job for Americans explaining to the Washington Post, "the American people want the EPA to continue to protect them and their families, and most importantly, their kids. That's the reason we're focused on climate change."

[Image Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]