In March 2013, President Obama nominated long time agency veteran Gina McCarthy to head the EPA. McCarthy is currently the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. A career public servant, McCarthy has spent time working for government offices in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and is known for “common sense” approaches to tackling environmental policy.
McCarthy has a Masters in Environmental Health Engineering as well as Planning and Public Policy from Tufts University. She is knowledgeable and passionate about clean air and the health and safety of people. She was instrumental in coordinating with communities, scientists and businesses to create mercury and air toxin standards for power plants through the EPA, which contribute to the deaths of 11,000 people each year. She is also known for creating a cap-and-trade incentive model in Connecticut to encourage businesses to reduce their carbon emissions. Believing that environmental protection is in the best interest of every person, she has worked for both major political parties and is known to give bipartisan effort to create progress that everyone can compromise on.
If confirmed, McCarthy will be the 13th leader of the EPA and the 4th female leader. Her confirmation is seen as President Obama choosing the “face of climate change” and likely will work closely with the president to implement aggressive initiatives to combat climate change challenges, particularly if current efforts at creating a carbon market solution fails. As administrator, McCarty said in her statement to congress that her priority focuses will be on reauthorizing laws on chemical safety, use recent science to find ways to improve the country’s water supply, and to curb carbon emissions with technology and fuel economy strategies.