EPA Chief: ‘Climate Change is Not a Religion’

President Obama is guided solely by science when it comes to fighting global warming, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told a Senate panel Wednesday, rejecting claims the administration is doing the bidding of left-wing environmental groups and urging Congress to approve a 6 percent budget increase to help fund the agency’s ambitious climate change agenda.

In heated exchanges with Republicans on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee — who have helped lead the charge against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies — Ms. McCarthy defended her agency’s request for a $8.6 billion discretionary budget for fiscal year 2016. Some of the funding increase, laid out in the president’s broader budget proposal, would be dedicated to the White House’s Clean Power Plan, a highly controversial initiative to limit carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants.

Critics from both parties and energy industry leaders claim the plan could ultimately drive coal-powered electricity from existence. They charge the EPA has not yet demonstrated that the benefits of the proposal will match the feared costs, such as significantly higher electric rates for consumers.