Exhaust rises from the main chimneys of a coal-fired power plant.
Exhaust rises from the main chimneys of a coal-fired power plant. - 
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Doug Krizner: The head of the Environmental Protection Agency faces scrutiny today from a House oversight committee. Democratic chair Henry Waxman wants EPA chief Stephen Johnson to explain why his agency approved a new coal-fired power plant in Utah -- the first such permit since a landmark Supreme Court ruling on greenhouses gases. Sarah Gardner reports from the Marketplace Sustainability Desk.

Sarah Gardner: Waxman has chastised the EPA for approving a small coal-fired plant in northeast Utah this past summer. He says the Supreme Court ruled in April the agency can regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, and the agency is ignoring the threat of global warming by approving CO2-spewing power plants.

David Doniger, at the Natural Resources Defense Council, agrees:

David Doniger: The power plants that are built now will be around for 50 or 60 years. It really matters what technology they choose to use.

A spokeswoman for EPA chief Stephen Johnson wouldn't comment on his upcoming testimony. She said the agency is still weighing a decision whether to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants.

Waxman is asking the EPA for a moratorium on permits for coal-fired plants until the agency takes CO2 emissions into account.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner