The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Thursday is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The vote is due to occur at 9:15 a.m. EDT. If the nomination is voted out of committee, it’s unclear how quickly the full Senate would move on it. The Senate is taking its time with McCarthy’s nomination. She has been meeting with prominent lawmakers on the committee over the past couple of days, including some detractors. McCarthy sailed through her confirmation hearing in April, fielding softball questions from Democrats. The issues raised by Republicans were more pointed, but not by much (see Daily GPI, April 12).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled his opposition to McCarthy, a position that is likely to be shared by other Republicans who represent coal-producing states. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has a hold on McCarthy’s nomination over a dispute involving a water project in his state (see Daily GPI, March 19).
If confirmed by the Senate, McCarthy would oversee industry compliance with a final rule on hydraulic fracturing emissions, which has a deadline of Jan. 1, 2015. According to the rule, volatile organic compounds would be slashed at new wells — those drilled after Aug. 23, 2011 — through a two-phase process requiring flaring followed by “green completions,” equipment that would be used to capture and sell natural gas emissions that are currently being lost. The Obama administration extended the deadline to embrace unconventional resources, particularly shale gas (see Daily GPI, April 19, 2012).
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