Former EPA Head Says China Wins Under Trump's Executive Order On Climate | Connecticut Public Radio

Former EPA Head Says China Wins Under Trump's Executive Order On Climate

Mar 31, 2017

The former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama was in Connecticut on Friday. Gina McCarthy spoke to students and climate activists at Wesleyan University and was critical of the policies of President Donald Trump.

McCarthy headed up Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection from 2004 to 2009.

As head of the U.S. EPA, she was an outspoken voice about the environmental and economic impacts of climate change.

"If you take a look at where people are investing and you take a look at costs, you'll see that renewable energy is actually getting less expensive all the time," said McCarthy to reporters preceding a speech at Wesleyan University.

McCarthy said Trump's recent executive orders aimed at loosening regulations on coal ignore the current and future prospects found in the growing solar and wind industries.

"I find it remarkable that this, or any president, would want to cede our opportunity on clean energy -- to be a world leader -- to China," McCarthy said. "That's exactly what signal this executive order on energy independence is sending."

"But the world doesn't have to pay attention to that executive order on energy independence and think that that represents the will of the people in the United States," McCarthy said. "Or the direction in which our energy future is heading -- because it's neither of those things."

Senator Richard Blumenthal, left, spoke with former EPA Commissioner Gina McCarthy and Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

"The clapping that you heard after that energy order was from the Chinese," said Senator Richard Blumenthal. "Who would love to supplant us and out-compete us as we abandon the field of wind and solar, but it isn't going to happen."

"Executives care about nothing more than bottom lines," Blumenthal said. "And there's no way they can abandon a profit-making industry like solar and wind that also happen to produce jobs."

"We're committed to 80 percent reductions by 2050," said DEEP Commissioner Rob Klee, referring to Connecticut's Global Warming Solutions Act. "We will fight hard and often -- and fight back -- to any attempts by the feds to roll those things back."

Gina McCarthy, who was replaced at the U.S. EPA by Scott Pruitt, said attacks on climate start with "an attack on science."

To that end, she says she'll participate in a "science march" in Boston on April 22 -- Earth Day.