Gina McCarthy

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Gina McCarthy
Gina McCarthy -- EPA.jpg
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Elections and appointments
NominatedMarch 4, 2013
ConfirmedJuly 18, 2013
Appointed byBarack Obama
Prior offices
Assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation
Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
Deputy secretary of operations for the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development
Bachelor'sUniversity of Massachusetts at Boston
Master'sTufts University
Place of birthDorchester, Massachusetts
Office website
Regina McCarthy (b. in Dorchester, Massachusetts) is the current administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She was nominated on March 4, 2013, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 18, 2013, by a vote of 59-40.[1] McCarthy's confirmation process was one of many to have an extended wait in 2013.[2]

She previously served as the Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation.[3]


McCarthy was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and served under five Massachusetts governors in her political career. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Boston before earning her Master's degree at Tufts University.[3]


Below is an abbreviated outline of McCarthy's academic, professional and political career:[3]

  • 1999-2003: Assistant Secretary of Pollution Prevention, Environmental Business and Technology for the State of Massachusetts
  • 2003-2004: Deputy Secretary of Operations for the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development
  • 2004-2009: Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
  • 2009-2013: Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Air and Radiation
  • 2013-Present: Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Confirmation vote

McCarthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 59-40 on July 18, 2013.[4]

Gina McCarthy confirmation vote, July 18, 2013
Party Votes for Approveda Votes against Defeatedd Total votes
Democratic Party Democrats 51 1 52
Republican Party Republicans 6 39 45
Independent Independents 2 0 2
Total Votes 59 40 99

EPA administrator initiatives

Water rights rule

The EPA proposed a rule, as part of the Clean Water Act, that would allow the agency to determine which bodies of water is regulated by the federal government. The House passed legislation with a 262-152 vote to stop the EPA from being able to make rules regarding the Clean Water Act. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) commented on the EPA's proposal, saying, "I have heard from many of my constituents that this rule would force them to prove that large mud puddles and ditches on their property are not federally regulated waters." On the other hand, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) wrote it off, stating, "We have departed from reality."[5] Thirty-five democrats broke ranks to vote in support of the bill, while one Republican, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), went against the grain and voted against its passage.[6]

The White House acknowledged that a veto would be used if the bill were to pass the Senate. A White House statement to House leaders read, "Clarifying the scope of the [Clean Water Act] helps to protect clean water, safeguard public health, and strengthen the economy."[7]

Climate change in schools

McCarthy urged on August 8, 2014, that climate change should be taught in U.S. public schools, claiming, "I think part of the challenge of explaining climate change is that it requires a level of science and a level of forward thinking and you’ve got to teach that to kids."[8]

Carbon cap executive order

On June 2, 2014, President Barack Obama signed an executive order intended to cut carbon pollution in the United States by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030. The order allowed states to individually determine which policies would be more effective for them to reach their goals. A similar bill was debated by Congress during Obama's first term in office, but it failed to pass. Obama used powers established by the 1970 Clean Air Act to sign the executive order.[9] Legal challenges were expected to arise over the 645 page order. EPA Administrator McCarthy said of the rule, "This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps. This is about protecting our health and our homes. This is about protecting local economies and jobs."[10]

President Obama gave the EPA until June 2015 to finalize the rule and states have until June 2016 to submit their plans, but the EPA pushed the deadline for states back to 2017 for those working individually and 2018 for those working together on plans.[10]

Possible ramifications

Coal plants were most likely to be hit the hardest with estimates in the hundreds of the nation's 6,000 plants that would be shut down by 2030. The Chamber of Commerce estimated that the new rule could result in a lowering of the gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as $50 billion annually.[9]

The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) president spoke out against the action, suggesting 75,000 jobs could be lost by 2020. He stated, "The proposed rule … will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions."[11] Additionally, Democratic lawmakers and candidates in coal-driven states have come out in opposition to the president's plan. Those lawmakers include: Alison Lundergan Grimes, Natalie Tennant and Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV).[12]


McCarthy is married with three children.[13]

Recent news

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External links


Political offices
Preceded by
Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator of the E.P.A.
Succeeded by