HEARING: “Hearing on the Nomination of Gina McCarthy to be Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency”

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, participated in the hearing, “Hearing on the Nomination of Gina McCarthy to be Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

For more information on the hearing or to watch a webcast of the hearing, please click here.

A copy of his opening statement, as prepared for delivery, follows:

“Thank you, Chairman Boxer, for having this hearing today.

“I would like to warmly welcome Gina McCarthy back to our committee. I am happy the President has nominated her for EPA Administrator and she has agreed to continue her service at the EPA in this new role.

“I believe Gina has a strong background for this position – not only from her long history of work in the states, but also as head of the EPA air division during a challenging time.

“Four years ago – after being unanimously approved as Assistant Administrator for Air by this committee and by the Senate – she faced a daunting task waiting for her at the EPA. Every major clean air regulation written by the Bush Administration had been remanded or vacated by the courts. As a result, Gina was tasked with implementing a laundry list of court-ordered regulations – all during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Many felt concerned that promulgating new regulations could short circuit the economic recovery. But at the end of the day, she helped put in place safeguards for cleaner air that protected the health of Americans without undercutting efforts to grow our economy. That’s in no small part due to her leadership.

“She has worked for not one, not two, but five – that’s right five – Republican Governors. Most recently she has worked for Mitt Romney in Massachusetts and Jodi Rell in Connecticut. As a result, she’s accustomed to working in a consensus-driven way with members of both parties – a critical skill set that will serve her well in the top job at the EPA.

“She and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on some issues. But she has always been honest with me and my staff and tried to find common ground if possible. Again, an important skill to have as Administrator.

“Some folks believe that you have to choose between protecting the environment and growing our economy, but Gina has helped prove that notion wrong. We know choosing between a strong economy and a safe environment is a false choice, and Gina is well-suited to help guide the EPA through a significant period.

“I look forward to continuing to work with her on issues facing our country and my home state of Delaware, like curbing dangerous cross-state air pollution and addressing climate change.

“Lisa Jackson leaves big shoes to fill as EPA Administrator, but I’m confident Gina will fill them.

“And speaking of shoes to fill, I have long been concerned about a problem that has plagued the Executive Branch through both Democratic and Republican Administrations – numerous and longstanding vacancies in senior positions throughout the federal government. This problem has become so prevalent that I’ve started referring to it as ‘Executive Branch Swiss cheese.’

“At any given moment we are lacking critical leadership in numerous positions in just about every agency, undermining the effectiveness of our government. While Congress and the Administration have taken steps to address this problem, the fact remains that we still have more work to do to ensure that we have talented people in place to make critical decisions.

“That’s one of the reasons why today’s confirmation hearing is so important and why I’m pleased that President Obama has put forward a nominee who I believe has the skills necessary to step in and be effective from day one.

“And that’s why I am calling on my colleagues to join me in supporting Gina’s nomination.”