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Gina McCarthy's record should win her easy Senate confirmation to head the Environmental Protection Agency, but that doesn't mean she will receive it.
The former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has done her job well and in nonpartisan fashion at every level of service. In Connecticut she served from 2004-2009 under Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. A Dorchester, Mass. native, Ms. McCarthy previously served as an administrator in the Massachusetts environmental agency under several governors, including Republican Mitt Romney.
Most recently Ms. McCarthy, 58, worked as director of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. Under her direction the office drafted new regulations reducing releases of carbon pollution, mercury and soot from power plants and promulgated tougher standards aimed at reducing sulfur in auto emissions. The results of such steps will be better public health, particularly reduced respiratory problems, and less greenhouse gases.
But some factions within the Republican Party see the environmental agency and its regulations as anti-business, even though every objective analysis has found curbing pollution is good for the economy. During the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing Thursday it was clear some consider Ms. McCarthy's ability to do her job well to be a liability.
"If confirmed as administrator, I am concerned that Gina McCarthy would continue to foster this administration's radical environmental and anti-coal jobs agenda," blustered the minority leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
In reality, this administration's record on environmental protection has been reasoned and moderate. We understand some Republicans will vote against the nomination to appease special interests. But there is no reason to filibuster this appointment.
If Republicans have problems with environmental laws they can seek to change them through the legislative process, not block worthy appointments. The Senate should expeditiously confirm Ms. McCarthy.