Professor: EPA, Energy nominations held 'hostage'

May 10, 2013 at 8:05 AM

WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- Efforts to get nominees approved for U.S. Energy Department and EPA posts are turning into a "hostage situation," a political scientist said.

None of the Republican members of a committee tasked with voting on whether Gina McCarthy should lead the Environmental Protection Agency showed for a meeting Thursday. Though a late Thursday deal will push the nomination for Ernest Moniz to lead the Energy Department forward, a Senate vote was blocked recently by Republican senators.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said U.S. President Barack Obama expected the Senate to approve McCarthy's nomination eventually. He called on "Republicans to stop the theater" and move on nominees "who are highly qualified" for their positions.

Moniz is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist. McCarthy was the assistant EPA administrator under former chief Lisa Jackson.

Some Republicans accuse Obama of embracing policies that thwart developments in the oil and natural gas sector. Some EPA decisions, particularly on coal and ethanol, are seen as adding to those woes.

Rutgers University political science Professor Ross Baker told Bloomberg News the situation was growing increasingly partisan.

"The confirmation process is increasingly turning into a hostage situation," he said.

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