– Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, questioned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan about EPA’s fiscal year 2023 proposed budget.


BROKEN PROMISES ON NDC: “We still have not seen that. I think this will have heavy impacts on jobs and job sustainability. How can we get this information from you?...What I’m getting at—and you’ve alluded to it—when you say you’ve talked about the impacts and how you’re going to reach this level of emission control, who’s going to lose the jobs here? Because we know that’s what’s going to happen. You know that’s what’s going to happen. And you know the frame of mind I’m coming from as an energy state. An energy not just producer, but our power sector is very heavily reliant on what we produce in our own state. So we know in order to meet these goal—as well as what’s happening with the EGU strategy—that oil and gas and coal are going to be at the tip of the spear here...You’re still not telling me how to get to the administration’s aspirational carbon emission goals.” 

THE IMPORTANCE OF BASELOAD ENERGY: “I’m not anti-renewable. I’m good with that. That’s great! But you have to be in reality. Let’s look at what’s going on in Europe right now. I mean you have to have baseload energy and that comes from nuclear, natural gas, or coal. Our coal in West Virginia is like gold over there now.”

STAFFING AT EPA: “Why do you need 1900 more people? You were given more money in the IIJA and ARP and CARES [Act], did you use that money to hire people?...So you would anticipate after five years, you wouldn’t need those folks because this is only a five year program? To push the extra money because the extra money won’t be there in five years?”

DEFINITION OF DISADVANTAGED: “EPA has given guidance that pushes states rewrite their definition of ‘disadvantaged communities’ and affordability criteria in line with the administration’s Justice40 initiative…You’re a former state administrator so you know the state has been tasked with defining ‘disadvantaged communities’ in the past. Why is that not working under this initiative? Why is that changing?”

STATES KNOW THEIR COMMUNITIES BEST: “In my state of West Virginia, if you use the online tool that is available to define ‘disadvantaged communities,’ I got excited about this because we have a small community called Institute, West Virginia, that has a historically Black college and university—West Virginia State University…It is also right next to a major chemical facility that’s been much, much larger in the past. There’s been environmental issues from time to time as we’ve seen that footprint change over the years. And this community doesn’t fall within a ‘disadvantaged’ community definition according to the tool that you all are putting together. It’s probably well over our state average in terms of minorities who live there. My understanding is because it’s next to the school, there’s faculty that lives there. But it totally qualifies for what the joint mission is to help communities that have had issues. How do we square that? Why wouldn’t you let the state make that determination?” 

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