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EPA's Gina McCarthy Praised as a Practical, Effective Environmentalist and Respected Regulator

March 7, 2013
President Barack Obama’s nominee for EPA administrator wins support from both sides of the aisle. She’s worked for Republican governors and been praised by Democratic legislators. Representatives from business call her “tough but fair” while environmentalists say she’s got a strong record of protecting the health and safety of millions of Americans.

Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama's nominee to head EPA, has served in federal and state government for over 25 years, including a stint as Governor Mitt Romney’s energy and climate advisor in Massachusetts. McCarthy has worked closely with environmental advocates and with industry leaders and has earned the trust of both sides.

Here is what some industry leaders and environmental advocates have to say about her:

Scott Segal, a lawyer with Bracewell & Giuliani, a Houston law firm that represents energy companies: “Gina McCarthy is engaging, effective and willing to listen to the regulated community – even if we don’t always agree with her final rules.”

Michael Brune, executive director, Sierra Club: “We welcome the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Assistant Administrator McCarthy has a strong record of protecting the health and safety of millions of Americans by limiting dangerous pollution in our air and supporting programs that help get America's kids outside. As head of the EPA’s clean air division, Assistant Administrator McCarthy forged bipartisan coalitions to finalize strong clean air safeguards and historic fuel efficiency standards, and as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, she led the state’s ‘No Child Left Inside’ campaign.”

William Becker, head of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies: “She’s brutally honest, very fair, humorous and an incredibly hard worker. She’s not an ideologue. She’s a practitioner.”

Jodi Rell, former Republican governor of Connecticut: “Her leadership on climate issues is nationally respected, so it comes as no surprise that the Obama administration would reach out to Commissioner McCarthy, a dedicated public servant with tremendous talent and passion.”

Gloria Berquist, vice president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: “She’s a pragmatic policymaker. She has aspirational environmental goals, but she accepts real-world economics.”

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council: “Gina McCarthy knows what it means to protect our air, water, land and health and stand up to the growing threats we’re seeing from climate change. She’s a good listener, a straight shooter and someone who has what it takes to build consensus and find solutions. We can count on her to protect our environment and our health. And she can count on our support as she works to get the job done on behalf of Americans everywhere.”

John McManus, American Electric Power’s vice president of environmental services: “My sense is that Gina is listening, has an open mind, she wants to hear the concerns of the regulated sector.”

Charles Warren, a top EPA official in the Reagan administration who now represents industries at the firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel: “At EPA, as a regulator, you’re always asking people to do things they don’t want to do. But Gina’s made an effort to reach out to industries while they’re developing regulations. She has a good reputation.”

Jeff Holmstead, former EPA air chief under George W. Bush: “McCarthy has shown a willingness to listen to and understand industry’s legitimate concerns.”

Donna Harman, president and chief executive of the American Forest and Paper Association: “She’s very data- and fact-driven, and that’s been helpful for us as well as the entire business community. It doesn’t mean I always got what I was looking for, but we can have a dialogue.”

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