EPA: Gardner bill would up air-pollution ante off Alaska coast

Colorado 4th Congressional District Rep. Cory Gardner has been steadily trying to chip away at the regulatory authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since taking office in January, and Colorado conservation groups are increasingly targeting the freshman Republican for backing “Big Oil” interests above environmental concerns.

And now the EPA is firing back, countering that a bill Gardner introduced to remove regulatory hurdles to offshore oil drilling in Alaska may significantly increase air pollution exposure for that state’s population.

EPA assistant administrator Gina McCarthy testified last week that Gardner’s Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, which would block the EPA from enforcing air standards for the company’s drilling off Alaska’s coast, could have adverse health impacts for Alaska residents.

Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, McCarthy said, “One exploratory outer continental shelf source could emit approximately as much on a daily basis as a large state-of-the art refinery,” according to Bloomberg.

“This bill will create tens of thousands of jobs, increase energy security, and lessen our dependence on foreign oil,” Gardner said in a release. “It will add billions of dollars in salary to Alaska and other states over the next several decades, bringing good paying jobs to our country.”

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