Now that President Obama has made his nomination for the top post at the EPA official, anticipation is mounting over whether or not she’ll face Congressional opposition – or more accurately, how much Congressional opposition she’ll face – during the confirmation process.
Gina McCarthy, head of the agency’s air and radiation office, is Obama’s top pick for the position that has, in the past, been a lightning rod for criticism. Previous EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s regulatory campaign to curb emissions drew the ire of industry, which cited “job-killing regulations.”
McCarthy, who is known for working effectively with environmental advocates, industry leaders and state level officials (including Republican governors such as Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney) may have an easier time than Jackson, although as architect of the new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, she’s shown a strong commitment to using regulations to achieve EPA goals. McCarthy also oversaw landmark standards for reducing carbon pollution from vehicles and new power plants.
Her nomination is being viewed by some environmentalists as a sign that the president means to follow through on the promise he made during his State of the Union speech to address the challenges of climate change.
The Washington Post previously reported that among industries regulated by the EPA, coal may be the only one to object to McCarthy's nomination.
Here is a sampling of reactions from a range of interest groups to McCarthy’s nomination:
Stephen Harper, Director of Environment and Energy Policy, Intel
“When you go into a meeting with Gina, you know where she stands on the environment, but she’s very pragmatic about the means to achieving an end…We think she’s somebody the industry can work with on problem-solving.”
Tom Buis, CEO, Growth Energy
“Our working relationship with Gina McCarthy has been outstanding. She’s very upfront, she’s very direct, but more importantly, she’s willing to listen to all the different stakeholders in the debate…I don’t know anyone in the industry who doesn’t have the utmost respect for her."
The American Chemistry Council (ACC)
“Gina McCarthy is a dedicated environmental professional with a wealth of experience in state and federal regulatory agencies. As Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Ms. McCarthy has been responsible for several rules that have important impacts on our industry, and in our experience she has listened carefully to all stakeholders and based her decisions in sound science. We look forward to continuing our effort with EPA to promote reliable science and achieve credible policy results.”
Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters
“President Obama’s nomination is a slam dunk for the environment. She’s a straight shooter, a straight talker, and she knows how to get the job done…“She works across the aisle.”
Carol Browner, Center for American Progress
McCarthy works "with both sides of the aisle to forge common-sense and science-based solutions."
Dr. Jerome Paulson, Pediatrician
“Gina McCarthy has demonstrated she can put science above politics. Gina McCarthy is clearly a leader in the protection of children from environmental health threats…Climate change is the most important environmental health problem facing the children of the U.S. and the world."
Jack Gerard, President and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API)
While Gerard did not comment specifically on McCarthy’s nomination, he said that she and Obama’s other new Cabinet appointees “can help America’s energy revolution produce jobs, energy and economic growth by encouraging sensible energy policies.”
David Levine, CEO and Founder, American Sustainable Business Council
“We believe that Ms. McCarthy can provide the strong leadership needed at EPA, including pushing forward on clean air and working collaboratively with the business community…“She understands that economic prosperity is not at odds with environmental protection. She was an advocate for crafting environmental policies to increase market certainties; for us, that means growing business and creating jobs.”
Bill Becker, Executive Director, National Association of Clean Air Agencies
“She’s brutally honest and she makes things happen.”