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Environment & Energy Report

Former EPA Chief Gina McCarthy Takes Over Leadership of NRDC

Nov. 5, 2019, 7:40 PM

Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator under President Barack Obama, on Nov. 5 was named president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

McCarthy brings increased visibility to one of the nation’s largest environmental groups. NRDC boasts $414 million in assets and some 3 million members.

McCarthy hasn’t yet laid out her agenda as head of NRDC, and will begin developing her priorities once she has come on board, said Ed Chen, NRDC’s federal communications director.

McCarthy gave a videoconference address to NRDC’s global staff and was “very, very warmly received,” Chen said. “She talked about the importance of the work ahead of us, and the importance of working collaboratively, but decisively and urgently.”

‘Central Challenge of Our Time’

In a statement following the announcement, McCarthy said: “The climate crisis is the central challenge of our time. The stakes have never been higher, and NRDC has never been stronger. NRDC was built for this moment. It was built for this mission.”

McCarthy wasn’t available for an interview because she was out of the country, Chen said.

McCarthy headed the Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2017.

In 2015, a group of Republican House members introduced a resolution to impeach McCarthy. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who led the effort, accused her of lying to Congress “in order to force misguided and overreaching regulations, which have no scientific basis, down our throats.”

Jeff Holmstead, former assistant administrator of the EPA’s air and radiation office in the George W. Bush administration, said in a statement that McCarthy “will be great for NRDC. They will benefit from having someone who understands EPA and just how complicated a lot of issues really are.”

The New York-based NRDC works with community groups, local officials, and others in more than a dozen program areas, including climate change, clean energy, nature, and environmental science. It has frequently sued the EPA and other Trump administration agencies for what the group considers those agencies’ undermining of environmental regulations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Lee in Washington at stephenlee@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Chuck McCutcheon at cmccutcheon@bloombergenvironment.com