POTUS Makes Climate Change EPA Chief’s Top Priority

by Alec Torres

Over the summer President Obama made a high-profile speech announcing his intention to focus on combating climate change. In his speech, Obama stated, “The question is not whether we need to act [on climate change]. The question is whether we will have the courage to act before it’s too late.” Dismissing concerns of climate-change skeptics, Obama exercised executive authority to direct the EPA to change regulations and limit greenhouse-gas emissions from American power plants.

In the latest of Obama’s environmental directives, the president informed Gina McCarthy, the new EPA administrator, that climate change should be her top priority. The Anchorage Daily News reports that McCarthy said, in reference to climate change, “The president’s main priority for me was to recognize when I was coming in here that this is going to be a significant challenge and one in which the administration was going to begin to tackle.”

After announcing his goals to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from American power plants, President Obama has charged the EPA with determining the details of such a policy. McCarthy stated her desire to find out how to “make a response to this climate challenge work in a way that’s healthy to the economy as well as addressing what is perhaps the greatest threat we have to the environment.” In addition to taking a tour of a glacier near Anchorage, McCarthy will also be visiting Bristol Bay, a region home to the open-pit Pebble Mine project, which the EPA is considering shutting down. She is spending her time there interviewing mine developers and locals in an effort to determine who will be affected and how.

“Right now,” she said, “we’re in a fact-finding mode to make sure we get the science correct and we understand the impacts in that area.”

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