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EPA Chief Vows Actions on Climate Change to Spur Economy

July 30 (Bloomberg) -- Gina McCarthy, the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, vowed to tackle global warming with actions that will help spark economic growth.

In her first public speech since taking over two weeks ago, McCarthy today defended her agency against attacks from Republicans in Congress, and urged companies to “embrace the opportunity of climate change” as a reason to invest.

The investments “will, in turn, fuel the complementary goals of turning America into a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing,” McCarthy said at Harvard Law School in Boston.

After a four-month delay awaiting her Senate confirmation, McCarthy now leads an agency that lawmakers have criticized over pollution limits that they say will cost jobs and hurt the economy. The Republican-led U.S. House passed legislation last year to reverse a series of EPA rules, and a House panel approved a budget reducing 34 percent of the agency’s more than $8 billion budget. The Senate hasn’t considered similar bills

While McCarthy was in Boston, the House Science committee announced it would vote Aug. 1 on subpoenaing the EPA for the underlying data used in 30-year-old studies of the health impacts of living in polluted areas.

“The EPA’s actions -- or inactions -- obstruct the ability of Congress to provide effective oversight of costly regulations on behalf of the American people,” Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican and the panel’s chairman, wrote in a letter to McCarthy on July 22.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Another House panel sent McCarthy a letter seeking details of its investigation of hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA will play a central role in enacting President Barack Obama’s pledge to counter the carbon-dioxide emissions scientists blame for causing global warming. In his climate address last month, Obama set a deadline in September for the EPA to issue a new proposal for the first rules limiting carbon-dioxide emissions from new power plants.

“For too long we were presented a false choice: between the health of our children and the health of our economy,” McCarthy said. “The truth is cutting carbon pollution will spark business innovation, resulting in cleaner forms of American-made energy.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net

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