Senator places hold on EPA nominee

Sen. Roy BluntRoy BluntSenators hope for deal soon on mental health bill Cruz: VA secretary 'should resign' Overnight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo MORE (R-Mo.) said Monday that he would place a procedural hold on President Obama’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


Blunt threatened to block the confirmation of Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyHow Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform Overnight Energy: Labor rift opens over green mega-donor GOP: EPA is violating court hold on climate rule MORE, who currently heads EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, until he gets an update on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project to repair a levee on the Mississippi River system.

“Once again, the government is arguing with the government while nothing is accomplished,” Blunt said in a Monday statement. “These agencies missed their own self-imposed deadline, which is entirely unacceptable. That’s why I’m placing a hold on the EPA Administrator until the Obama Administration can provide us with a concrete timeline for progress on the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project.”

Blunt said the EPA, Army Corps and Fish and Wildlife Service missed a Friday progress report deadline for the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway Project.

The proposed project would add pumping stations to the system and close a 1,500-foot gap in the levee.

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Of the three people Obama has tapped to fill out his second-term energy team, McCarthy is generally viewed as having the toughest path to confirmation.

McCarthy has overseen new proposed and implemented air emissions regulations that generated backlash from industry and conservatives.

Chiefly, those include mercury and other air toxins emissions rules, more stringent vehicle fuel economy standards and proposed emissions rules for new coal-fired power plants.

Senate Republicans have said they have questions about McCarthy’s role in ushering those rules through EPA. While many have hinted at a possible hold, none had committed to the idea until Blunt did Monday.

McCarthy’s confirmation hearing with the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works has not yet been set.

Obama’s choices to lead the Interior and Energy departments also await confirmation.

Sally JewellSally JewellAs climate crisis worsens, it's Interior Secretary Jewell who's being naïve Puerto Rico bill drops GOP’s wildlife refuge transfer Coal war intensifies with Obama review MORE, Obama’s Interior selection, already faced the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Some Republicans said they still have questions about the chief executive of outdoor gear giant REI.

Ernest MonizErnest MonizThe Trail 2016: Donald and the Supremes Overnight Energy: EPA wants higher ethanol mandate Moniz dismisses Trump’s call to change climate deal MORE will also need to clear that committee to head the Energy Department. A physicist who directs the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative, Moniz has gotten favorable reactions from both Democrats and Republicans.