Senate Minority Leader Mitchell McConnell misquoted EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy when he claimed in a floor speech that she conceded the administration’s new climate change plan is “a war on coal.” McCarthy said nothing of the kind. She said the EPA is “fighting against pollution and fighting for public health.”
The Kentucky Republican went to the Senate floor on June 17 to criticize the administration’s new climate change plan, which, among other things, aims, by 2030, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent. During his speech, McConnell discussed McCarthy’s June 13 appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
McConnell, June 17: The host asked her this question: ‘Some people called it a war on coal.’ And the host said, ‘I hope it is a war on coal. Is it?’ After a moment of indirection, Administrator McCarthy conceded that a war on coal is quote ‘exactly what it is.’ The EPA Administrator said a war on coal is quote ‘exactly what this is.’
McConnell is putting words in her mouth. Here is the exchange she had with Maher:
Maher, June 13: Last week [you] announced, I think it was called the ‘Clean Power Program.’ Some people called it a war on coal. I hope it is a war on coal. Is it?
McCarthy: Actually, EPA is all about fighting against pollution and fighting for public health. That’s exactly what this is.
Maher: Oh great!
McCarthy never said the new plan is “a war on coal.”
After McConnell’s speech, the EPA administrator went on her Twitter account (h/t The Hill) to set the record straight in the standard 140 characters or less. “Can’t be more clear: there is no war on coal. Clean Power Plan is about reducing pollution and fighting for public health,” she tweeted.
— Eugene Kiely