*UPDATE II* New EPA Admin: Natural Gas Key to More Jobs, Cleaner Environment
UPDATE II (1/30/2014; 11:06 am ET): Today, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy sat down with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd to discuss the President’s 2014 State of the Union Address – a speech that touted the many benefits of increased natural gas development. McCarthy touched on a number of energy issues, from utilities to increased renewable generation, including the fact that natural gas holds clear and significant environmental benefits for the country.
From the program:
McCarthy: “I think the President has been very consistent in his message. His message is that we want to be as secure in our energy supply as we can. It’s important for national security. But at the same time, we can move forward with reductions in carbon pollution that’ll make our public health improved and make our communities safer. I don’t think there’s been any change in position. There’s been opportunities to make success in reducing carbon pollution. We’re gonna build on that.”
Todd: “Do you believe, though, that this – I mean obviously there are some environmental groups who believe that this natural gas boom — it’s certainly having a positive economic impact in a lot of states, particularly the Midwest, but is going to cause environmental problems down the road. Where are you on this?”
McCarthy: “I think the president has been clear that the natural gas boom has provided us an opportunity and a tremendous and inexpensive energy supply.”
Todd: “You think it’s a net positive?”
McCarthy: “From a greenhouse gas perspective it certainly is. And what we can do and what the president has pledged to do in his plan is to continue to look at this and make sure it’s safer and cleaner moving forward.”
As the President noted during his State of the Union Address, natural gas “can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.” In addition, thanks to natural gas, “America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades,” and we’re “bringing more jobs back” as a result. That is certainly news worth remembering.
UPDATE (12/2/2013; 5:07pm ET): Today, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy once again touted the importance of natural gas as a “game-changing” and clean-burning fuel for America’s energy mix. Her remarks, made during an event sponsored by the Center for American Progress, are yet another example of Obama administration officials’ support of natural gas – and the importance of hydraulic fracturing in accessing this vital source of domestic energy.
According to Administrator McCarthy:
“The pollution that I’m looking at is traditional pollutants as well as carbon. And natural gas has been a game changer with our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions that have been very hard to get our arms around for many decades.” (53:27; emphasis added)
In case you missed it, you can find EID’s infographic of White House officials touting the importance of natural gas and hydraulic fracturing by clicking here.
—Original post, Aug. 14, 2013—
Today, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy delivered a speech in Boulder focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating jobs in the energy sector, highlighting the importance of natural gas in this effort. From her remarks:
“Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change and support a robust clean energy market at home. It also has huge potential to help power our factories and our vehicles, while at the same time cutting our dependence on foreign oil.”
That should be a pretty big wake up call to anti-hydraulic fracturing activists who have been trying for years to argue that methane “leakage” cancels out the climate benefits of natural gas. Turns out, the new head of the EPA – not exactly a shill for oil and gas producers! — begs to differ. And, by pointing to the fact that natural gas would “support a robust clean energy market at home,” McCarthy sets the record straight on opponents’ claims that natural gas could “crowd out” renewables. In reality, natural gas provides the baseload power needed for increasing renewable generation, and this is something that leaders in the renewable energy industry have also emphasized. But McCarthy didn’t stop there. She also talked about the clear economic benefits of natural gas development:
“Industry experts predict that natural gas alone can support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. Right now, this industry is supporting nearly 140,000 jobs in Colorado.”
McCarthy’s speech comes on the heels of remarks by Energy secretary Ernest Moniz, who also recently challenged activists’ misguided claims about natural gas and methane emissions. As he put it, “I think the issues in terms of the environmental footprint of hydraulic fracturing are manageable. They’re challenging but manageable.” As The Hill reported,
“His remarks show that although the Obama administration is studying methane questions, Moniz doesn’t believe the emissions erode the climate advantage of natural gas … ‘My look at the evidence to date suggests that this in no way eliminates the significant advantage of gas [on] CO2 emissions,’ Moniz told reporters.
Also on the list of natural gas supporters is President Obama’s Interior secretary Sally Jewell who recently stated that hydraulic fracturing is “essential” and that it “can be done safely and responsibly.” She also recently highlighted the role of natural gas in reducing emissions during her visit to North Dakota:
“Working hand in hand with industry, we have an opportunity to use innovative technologies to capture natural gas to power more homes with cleaner American-made energy, while reducing methane emissions and cutting carbon pollution.”
While those in the anti-natural gas camp continue their attempts to construct an alternate reality around the history of natural gas development and sell it to the public, President Obama’s top environment and energy regulators believe natural gas plays an “important part” in reducing emissions while creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Sounds like an action plan worth supporting.