The head of the Environmental Protection Agency played regulation whack-a-mole Thursday on Capitol Hill, as Republicans on the House Science Committee spent the morning popping credibility questions about each of their least favorite regulations.
Gina McCarthy had been called to testify about GOP charges that the EPA uses "secret science" to justify its regulations and fails to balance economic costs with environmental benefits.
Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, wanted answers about a leaked proposal that would give the agency expanded jurisdiction over waterways. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., questioned ethanol mandates under the renewable-fuel standard, contending elevated levels of the biofuel in gasoline would damage engines. Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, quizzed McCarthy on hydraulic fracturing, twice accused her of filibustering and, exasperated, said: "Maybe I can't understand anything you say because you're hard to believe, ma'am."
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, challenged McCarthy's contention that carbon capture and sequestration technology for coal-fired power plants is near commercial readiness. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., took issue with a rule that requires utilities to improve aquatic-life protections on intake equipment. Smith asked another question on ozone standards.