McCarthy meets with lawmakers in North Dakota to discuss energy issues, RFS

By Derrick Cain

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2014 - EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy met with three lawmakers today in North Dakota to discuss an array of energy-related issues, including the agency's proposed rule on reducing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the administration's views on the future of coal.

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Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., met with McCarthy. Heitkamp said the meetings were very productive, and that she continued her push against EPA's proposed RFS reduction while urging continued investments in clean coal technologies. “[McCarthy] came to coal country,” Heitkamp said.

While it is not clear what progress was made on RFS, McCarthy said that “she spent a lot of time listening to renewable fuel people.”  The EPA in November issued a proposal to lower the RFS requirement for 2014 by 16 percent, from the initial congressional mandate of 18.15 gallons of ethanol and biodiesel for blending into gasoline to 15.21 billion gallons. The plan is now undergoing interagency review at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“The White House has asked the EPA to move forward with an ‘all of the above policy' [on energy issues],” McCarthy said.

Topic of discussions also included EPA proposed regulations on new power plants, and the issue of carbon dioxide emissions.

McCarthy noted that when she flew into North Dakota, she saw a large swath of wind turbines. “It's really cool to see how creative states can be [in energy creation],” she said.

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