WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is expected by environmental advocates to name Gina McCarthy, the controversial chief of the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution arm, to head the agency.
The nomination of McCarthy, 58, who has served as the head of the EPA’s clean-air division since 2009, could come as early as next week, according to officials of three environmental groups. Her boss, Lisa Jackson, left the administrator’s post Thursday.
McCarthy’s nomination is likely to draw fire from congressional Republicans. Over the last four years, they have attacked the EPA’s new regulations to cut air pollution, including emissions of greenhouse gases, as job-killing government overreach.
Obama’s choice of McCarthy also would signal that he is poised to make good on the more aggressive rhetoric he has used lately about the urgency of addressing climate change, environmentalists said.
During his State of the Union address Tuesday, Obama departed from his past cautiousness to make a moral case for tackling climate change. He challenged Congress to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but said he would use his authority if it failed to take action.