President Obama’s pick for EPA administrator goes on the hot seat today. Gina McCarthy, the EPA's top air quality official since 2009, will appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee as part of a nomination process that is already embroiled in a political spat.
Because Republican Senator Roy Blunt placed a hold last month on McCarthy's nomination over a dispute involving a levee project in his home state of Missouri, McCarthy now needs 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate to be confirmed in the post, instead of a simple majority.
In the meantime, her supporters are touting McCarthy’s ability to work with a range of stakeholders – including industry leaders – when it comes to environmental policy.
In an op-ed in Reuters titled “Obama’s worthy EPA nominee deserves support,” Intel’s Stephen Harper writes:
We haven’t always agreed with every action taken under McCarthy’s watch, but we have always respected her rock-solid dedication to protecting the environment and her commitment to finding solutions that also protect our nation’s economy. In working with Gina over the last four years, we’ve encountered a person who really understands what industry needs from an EPA leader.
We look forward to Gina’s leadership as the new EPA Administrator. The Senate should confirm her appointment immediately and usher in a proven leader who can address the many challenges facing the environment and industry.
In a recent radio interview, Harper went on to explain how McCarthy worked with Intel and allies to find a creative solution that accomplished the EPA’s environmental goals and helped to facilitate industry expansion.
The Auto Alliance, somewhat surprisingly, issued a supportive reaction to the carbon pollution and fuel efficiency standards that McCarthy helped establish. Vice President of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers Gloria Berquish said, “She’s a pragmatic policymaker. She has aspirational environmental goals, but she accepts real-world economics.”
The EPA Administrator must work with multiple stakeholders to craft and implement policies that are environmentally and economically sound.