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Obama’s EPA Chief On The U.S. And Climate Change

This broadcast is a part of the#OnPoint100 Day Spotlight.

President Obama’s EPA chief Gina McCarthy joins us to look at President Trump’s early moves on the environment.

Gina McCarthy remembers her confirmation fight to be named chief of the EPA. It lasted a record 136 days, as Republicans fought the hard-nosed climate defender tooth and nail. She ultimately became Barack Obama’s last administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Now a new Republican nominee awaits confirmation. And the Trump-era talk is of gutting the EPA. Reversing Obama-era policy. Deriding climate change. This hour On Point, we talk with newly-exited EPA chief Gina McCarthy. — Tom Ashbrook


Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Fellow at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. (@GinaEPA)

Gina McCarthy On President Trump, Clean Power And Scott Pruitt

“This Administration needs to recognize the people in this country and that EPA’s mission is to protect public health and the environment. It has been a nonpartisan mission for as long as the 46 years that the agency’s been in place…We’re there to deliver clean water, clean air and clean land — how controversial is that?”

“This isn’t just about climate change — this is about mercury in our air, toxics in our water. This is about our health.”

“I am not Normandy, we’re not storming an enemy here. They have to shift from rhetoric to actually governing, and the EPA deserves to be governed.”

“The Clean Power Plan, because of where it is in the court system, it would not be over [if the Trump EPA abandoned the plan]. This Administration would have to re-propose a rule to replace it.”

“Who is gonna disagree with solar and wind? It’s the cheapest energy you can buy today. Why aren’t we embracing it?”

“Where is Pruitt? Who is he listening to? Our Clean Power Plan alone had more than four million comments. There is no EPA that has done more to reach out to the public in the energy world than the past EPA has done. How do you not reach out to the public?”

From Tom’s Reading List

Reuters: EPA head’s top regret: failing to connect with rural America — “Among the millions of rural Americans who voted for incoming president Donald Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s legacy of hard-nosed regulation earned it a reputation as a jobs killer – a fact that outgoing EPA Director Gina McCarthy says could prove to be one of her biggest regrets.”

Washington Post: Defending his legacy, Obama releases more than two dozen ‘Cabinet exit memos’ — “EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, by contrast, provided a somewhat drier accounting of her work, but made a similar point in concluding, ‘As we pass the baton, we are proud to have run our leg of the race with steadfast vigor, and left a healthier country and a stronger EPA.'”

FiveThirtyEight: What We Learned (And Didn’t) About Scott Pruitt At His Confirmation Hearing — “Pruitt repeatedly told Democrats that he believed the EPA had an important role to play in regulating carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases implicated in human-caused climate change. But no one on the committee asked him to elaborate on what that role was, what it wasn’t, or what he would be doing to fulfill it.”

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)