At her confirmation hearing today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Chairman of its Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, praised Gina McCarthy, current Assistant Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency and President Obama's nominee to be the next administrator, for her public service and dedication.
"The Environmental Protection Agency has a responsibility to PROTECT the health and safety of the American people by protecting the health of our environment and the safety of our water and our air. EPA also has to be guided by the law and good science. Ms. McCarthy has a well-earned reputation for pragmatism, scientific leadership, environmental aspiration, and economic realism. I expect that she will continue to seek the very best science available to make good decisions on public policy.
"Given the federal-state partnership that is the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program, I look forward to working closely with Administrator McCarthy, once confirmed, to continue rehabilitation of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. In 2012, the Bay's health improved incrementally but the area in which the Bay's condition worsened was a decrease in underwater vegetation due to warmer water temperatures and unusually heavy rains. As both of these phenomena are linked to climate change, EPA will have to continue its path of tackling greenhouse gas emissions to promote the health of our water in Maryland and across the country.
"In addition to working for healthy waterways, Ms. McCarthy will bring her experience in the Office of Air and Radiation to bear in working for cleaner air. Air pollution threatens those with asthma and respiratory problems, and results each year in 12 million lost work days, 14 million lost school days, and 5,000 deaths. Air pollution controls protect public health and save billions of dollars in associated medical costs. Contrary to rhetoric claiming that these controls are job-killing, Maryland's experience in implementing the 2006 Maryland Healthy Air Act demonstrates that implementing air pollution controls can create well-paying jobs. I anticipate a productive working relationship with Ms. McCarthy to make sure that families can have clean air, water, and soil, all without sacrificing jobs.
"I am strongly committed to the fight against climate change, and I appreciate Ms. McCarthy's successes with fuel efficiency standards and mercury regulation. Our shorelines are buffeted by Superstorms like Sandy and our Western states face drought and wildfire. In February, the GAO included fiscal exposure due to climate change on the government's high risk list for the first time. In combating climate change Ms. McCarthy has helped the EPA to address these large scale threats to our nation through her thoughtful, scientific regulation."