February 17, 2017
Former President Barack Obama’s environmental chief, Gina McCarthy, said Friday that she will be keeping a close eye on newly confirmed EPA chief Scott Pruitt as he takes the helm of the agency she once commanded.
The Senate confirmed Pruitt on Friday, 52-46, in a mostly party line-vote, to make him the 14th EPA administrator since President Richard Nixon established the agency in the 1970s.
McCarthy, who apparently believes she has the power to overrule Pruitt’s agenda, issued a statement after the vote, saying she will be keeping tabs on Pruitt as he takes over the reins of the agency. He is scheduled to address the staff Tuesday.
“Every action” Pruitt makes, McCarthy said, will be eyed “very closely” by her “to ensure the Trump administration upholds science and the law.”
McCarthy was charged with driving the bulk of Obama’s climate change agenda during his second term in office, along with extending the agency’s jurisdiction over state waterways and other regulations deemed overreaching by the Republican Party.
The former EPA chief said she wants to make sure Pruitt “respects” the EPA’s “dedicated public servants and builds on the agency’s long track record of protecting public health and the environment.”
McCarthy said now was not the “time to roll back the agency’s work or weaken our long-held protections, it’s time to work hand-in-hand with states, local communities and tribes to protect the most vulnerable among us and create the jobs of the future.”