New EPA chief Gina McCarthy. Official EPA portrait photo.
On July 18, the U.S. Senate finally confirmed Gina McCarthy as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since then, she has made it clear that she intends to tackle the threats of climate change head-on. In a speech on Tuesday, McCarthy told an audience at the Harvard Law School that “the threats posed by pollution and a changing climate are real.”
The speech, McCarthy’s first as EPA’s chief, linked the country’s economic goals with an environmental agenda. Far from being at odds with each other, McCarthy said, “climate solutions, and other environmental protections, fit as part of a sound national and global environmental and economic agenda.”
McCarthy was nominated by Obama in March, but her confirmation was stalled in the Senate for several months thanks to partisan wrangling. However, she has a strong bipartisan record, according to the website ThinkProgress.org: she worked with Mitt Romney when he was the governor of Massachusetts to reduce air pollution, and was appointed by Obama in 2009 to the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.
A full video of McCarthy’s speech can be seen below. And today, McCarthy is answering questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #AskGinaEPA.