Senate OKs Gina McCarthy as EPA Leader

The Senate approved President Barack Obama’s pick to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Thursday. Senators voted 59-40 to overcome Republican objections that tried to block a vote on Gina McCarthy to lead the EPA, reported the Associated Press.

McCarthy, who previously served as EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, is considered a “longtime environmental champion while Republicans say the she has helped issue regulations that hurt the economy and cost jobs,” AP stated.

“We congratulate Gina McCarthy on her confirmation as the next EPA administrator,” American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard said in a release. “McCarthy’s confirmation comes at a critical time as our economy is recovering and America is becoming a global leader on energy. President Obama has laid out a vision for an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, and we hope McCarthy’s leadership will align the agency’s regulations with that vision”

"Gina McCarthy and I have a constructive working relationship based on open and honest dialogue that will continue as we work towards the shared goal of improving the data available on the environmental impact of natural gas,” added Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association (AGA), in a released statement. “We look forwarding to working with Gina and her staff on that effort."

McCarthy has a long history in the environmental arena, starting off as an anthropologist. She studied social anthropology as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts before receiving a joint M.S. degree in environmental health engineering and planning and policy from Tufts University.

“People ask me why social anthropology prepared me for the work that I’m doing in government. Well, everyone who asked me that, I wondered if they had ever been in the Massachusetts Legislature, whether they had ever been in the Connecticut Legislature, and whether they had ever visited Congress recently, because it is a primitive society into itself,” McCarthy said in her keynote address at the Green Education for The Next Generation at her alma mater.

She has worked in federal and state governments for more than 25 years and her career has spanned five Massachusetts governors including former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and one Connecticut governor, Jodi Rell, under whom she ran the state’s Environmental Protection Department. In 2009, she joined EPA and moved to Washington.


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