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But she was largely mum on what steps the EPA would take to continue that fight. With congressional action unlikely, Mr. Obama has said he would take executive action in the effort, including directing the EPA to enact further regulations.

Ms. McCarthy said “common-sense steps” would continue and promised “opportunities for mitigating carbon pollution going forward.”

She will be the most controversial member of the White House’s revamped energy and environmental team. No date has been set for a Senate vote on her confirmation.

Sally Jewell on Wednesday was confirmed by a strong bipartisan vote to be interior secretary. Ernest Moniz, the president’s nominee to head the Energy Department, skated through a confirmation hearing Tuesday.