Today, after a lengthy and needlessly political delay, the United States Senate finally confirmed the nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Senate confirmed McCarthy by a vote of 59 to 40. In past blogs, SACE has tracked the extremely bumpy path McCarthy had to navigate from nominee to Administrator. McCarthy holds the record for most questions asked of an EPA Administrator nominee and longest wait-time between nomination and appointment.
The EPA and the American people will undoubtedly benefit from McCarthy’s leadership, especially as EPA prepares to implement the Obama Administration’s national climate action plan by working closely with states, industry and other stakeholders to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing coal-fired power plants. These standards will have particular importance here in the Southeast as coal plants in our region contribute to an unparalleled amount of carbon dioxide as compared to the rest of the country. In 2012 alone, over 366 million tons of carbon dioxide came from roughly 270 coal units at 82 power plants in eight Southeastern states.
We welcome Administrator McCarthy and applaud the Senate for finally approving her nomination. What the country needs is a clean air, public health champion who can also work with industry to create protective, cost effective environmental regulations. Thankfully, this is one of those times that the country got exactly what it needed.