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EPA nominee focuses on greenhouse gas emissions

McCarthy is considered data-driven and pragmatic

EPAPresident Obama’s selection of Gina McCarthy to become the next EPA Administrator is being hailed as a positive move by both environmentalists and some in the business community, who say McCarthy is adept at holding dialogues with competing interests.

As head of the agency’s air and radiation office, McCarthy has spent the past four years pushing forward limits on carbon pollution from power plants and large stationary sources. She has also have helped close power plants emitting greenhouse gases linked to climate change.

Described as data-driven and pragmatic, McCarthy is lauded for her ability to broker deals with potential opponents.

Still, the politically-charged issue of climate change means that her confirmation process will not necessarily be a smooth one.

The previous EPA administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, came in for heavy criticism by the manufacturing and utility industries in particular, who accused her of promoting job-killing regulations.

At a recent appearance at Georgetown Law, McCarthy talked about the important role of states in the formation of climate and energy policy.

 "McCarthy worked at the state level for Republican administrations in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and she has demonstrated a willingness to work with states at the EPA,” says Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the non-partisan Georgetown Climate Center. Arroyo said that McCarthy will need to work closely with states in order to meet the agency's greenhouse gas reduction targets.

At Georgetown, McCarthy pointed to ongoing state efforts, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, that have demonstrated that carbon pollution can be curbed while helping the economy, and indicated that the EPA wants to build on successful state efforts.

"It's very exciting to me to see that some of the programs at EPA are being as successful as they have been in working with the states, in incentivizing opportunities, at building tools, seeing the states run with those issues, understanding how important climate change is to mayors across this country," McCarthy said.

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