By Jeremy Carroll, Crain News Service
WASHINGTON (July 9, 2013) — A major hurdle for Gina McCarthy's nomination to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appears to have been cleared.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said he supports handing Ms. McCarthy's nomination to the Senate floor without a filibuster. Mr. Vitter had asked for specific concessions from the EPA, including on issues surrounding the Freedom of Information Act, how the agency gathers scientific data and how it conducts economic analysis.
"I've had very productive conversations with EPA over the last several weeks, and believe the agency has taken significant steps forward on our five transparency requests," Mr. Vitter said in a statement.
"These are huge, significant steps forward to bringing transparency to the agency, and I see no further reason to block Gina McCarthy's nomination, and I'll support moving to an up-or-down vote on her nomination."
With Democrats holding a majority in the Senate, Ms. McCarthy's nomination appears to be a formality now with the threat of filibuster gone. Mr. Vitter has been one of the EPA's toughest critics.
President Barack Obama nominated Ms. McCarthy to replace Lisa Jackson, who left the agency after the president's second term began. Currently, the EPA has been without a permanent administrator for more than 140 days — the longest period in the history of the agency.
Ms. McCarthy, 58, works as the EPA's assistant administrator for air and radiation. She was confirmed by the Senate for that role in 2009 following a voice vote. Before coming to the EPA, Ms. McCarthy led environmental initiatives in Connecticut and Massachusetts under Republican governors, including former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Ms. McCarthy is best known as the architect of regulations aimed at curbing mercury and soot emissions from power plants.
She was approved by the Environment and Public Works Committee by a 10-8 vote following a protest by Republicans which delayed that vote a week.
This report appeared on wasterecyclingnews.com, the website of Waste & Recycling News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.