Environmental Protection Agency official Gina McCarthy won Senate confirmation to head the agency in a 59 to 40 vote on July 18.
McCarthy, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office during President Obama’s first term, has played a key role in the administration’s efforts to address global warming as well as curb traditional pollutants such as soot and mercury. Environmentalists see her as a key ally in efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants over the next few years, but she has also won praise from business officials who view her as open to compromise.
President Obama welcomed McCarthy’s confirmation in a statement, calling her, “a proven leader who knows how to build bipartisan support for commonsense environmental solutions that protect the health and safety of our kids while promoting economic growth,” adding he looks “forward to having her in my Cabinet as we work to slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner environment for future generations.”
A longtime civil servant, McCarthy has held her current position as EPA assistant administrator since 2009. Previously, she was commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. She has also held several top positions in the civil service of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including deputy secretary at the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and undersecretary for policy at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.
McCarthy graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology in 1976. In 1981, she received a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University.