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Confirming a New Boss at EPA

This week a Senate committee will hold a nomination hearing for Gina McCarthy to replace Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Gina McCarthy, the EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, is a sound choice for the job. Given her background and experience, the Senate should move expeditiously to confirm her.

For more than 25 years Gina McCarthy worked with politicians from both parties, including a stint as Gov. Romney’s energy and climate advisor in Massachusetts. In 2009 Republican and Democratic senators easily confirmed McCarthy by a voice vote to head the clean air division of EPA.

Gina McCarthy is a dedicated environmental professional with a history of working on difficult issues including climate change. We share her vision of an energy-efficient economy which creates sustainable jobs.

McCarthy has earned a reputation as a pragmatist who seeks the views of environmentalists and regulated industries before taking action. It won’t surprise me at all when Earthjustice objects to and challenges a decision she makes, but at least we know our side will be heard.

Gina McCarthy’s work to protect public health is noteworthy. She helped to establish landmark new clean car emissions standards. She also helped create a rule that protect families and kids from the harmful effects of mercury pollution from existing power plants.

At the top of her agenda should be a few major issues of particular interest to Earthjustice that will help protect public health and, especially, our children.

The agency’s first order of business should be to adopt limits on industrial carbon pollution from power plants, which account for the biggest share of our carbon pollution.

Second, the EPA should finalize the Clean Water Act jurisdiction policy to reverse the Bush administration's policy that excluded many waterways from Clean Water Act protections.

The EPA should also set federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal at more than 1,300 coal-fired power plants.

McCarthy will be a vital player in the effort to protect our families and environment. It is critical that the Senate move quickly to confirm her.

Earthjustice will be live-tweeting the confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works committee this Thursday starting at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.
Please follow along on Twitter at @Earthjustice.

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.