This morning the Environment and Public Works Committee will consider President Obama’s nomination of Gina McCarthy to be Assistant Administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
I am pleased that President Obama has selected someone with such a strong background in clean air protection for this critical role at EPA.
Gina McCarthy comes to this position with nearly three decades of experience in public service, and a unique record of accomplishment in addressing air pollution – including greenhouse gas emissions – at the state level in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Gina McCarthy was appointed by a Republican Governor, Jodi Rell of Connecticut, and brings to this role a spirit of bipartisanship that I greatly appreciate.
The Office of Air and Radiation oversees the development of national programs, policies, and regulations for addressing air pollution and radiation exposure.
This nomination is especially important to the people of my state. California faces some of the most dangerous air pollution issues in the country. Pollution around our ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, is responsible for increased rates of respiratory disease, including cancer, among families that live near those facilities.
The California Air Resources Board estimates that diesel emissions contribute to approximately 2,000 premature deaths each year and that the health costs of diesel emissions are billions of dollars each year. Millions of people in areas like the Central Valley and the Inland Empire experience dangerous air pollution day after day.
The Obama Administration has already begun to reverse many of the previous Administration’s environmental rollbacks. During his first week in office, President Obama announced an EPA review of the California waiver decision. In his speech to a joint session of Congress on February 24, President Obama underscored his support for a market-based cap on carbon pollution. And the EPA has sent the endangerment finding to the Office of Management and Budget at the White House -- there are reports that it will be released very soon. These are very positive developments.
I am also pleased that EPA has recently taken steps to test dangerous air pollution around schools – including schools in California. I believe this program should be expanded so that any school where children may be exposed to dangerous air pollution is addressed.
This is a pivotal time for EPA. I am very pleased to see that under the leadership of Administrator Lisa Jackson, EPA has already begun to reverse the damage that was done under the previous Administration and return the EPA to its mission to protect public health and the environment. The Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation will play a crucial role in continuing that process.
I look forward to hearing from today’s nominee.