- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2013

While no official announcement has been made, speculation is swirling around Gina McCarthy as the White House’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Multiple media reports have in recent days portrayed Ms. McCarthy, currently assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, as the clear front-runner to be the next EPA administrator. She would replace Lisa Jackson, who held the post for the last four years but oversaw a period when the agency’s scientific credibility hit an all-time low among congressional Republicans and many in the oil, gas and coal industries.

Filling the EPA job is especially important for the Obama administration after the president’s recent pledge to confront climate change in his second term. The agency has played a key role in previous White House efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, most notably taking the lead in dramatically raising auto fuel efficiency standards.

EPA regulations also have resulted in an effective ban on, among other things, new coal-fired power plants. Critics do not expect anything to change under a McCarthy-led agency.

“The EPA will continue it’s anti-fossil fuel crusade undeterred, and the administration will continue to avoid normal democratic means to legislate the president’s climate change agenda through the regulatory agencies,” said Benjamin Cole, spokesman for the American Energy Alliance, a conservative energy think tank.
But environmental groups likely would applaud the pick, as it would signal that the White House will make air pollution and carbon emissions a high priority over the next four years.

Before coming to the EPA, Ms. McCarthy served as commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection.