This summer, after months of partisan wrangling, the U.S. Senate, on July 18, 2013, in a 59 to 40 vote, finally confirmed Gina McCarthy as the next administrator of the EPA, four and a half months after President Obama nominated her to replace outgoing administrator Lisa Jackson.

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) nominates (from L-R) Nuclear Physicist Ernest Moniz to head the Department of Energy, Air Quality Expert Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and Walmart’s Philanthropic Head Sylvia Mathews Burwell to become Director of the White House Budget Office, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, 4 March 2013. (Source: REUTERS/Larry Downing)

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) nominates (from L-R) Nuclear Physicist Ernest Moniz to head the Department of Energy, Air Quality Expert Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and Walmart’s Philanthropic Head Sylvia Mathews Burwell to become Director of the White House Budget Office, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, 4 March 2013. (Source: REUTERS/Larry Downing)

McCarthy is no stranger to EPA: prior to her appointment as administrator, she served as head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Before joining EPA, she was commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. McCarthy has developed a reputation as a political pragmatist–a staunch defender of the environment but one who will listen to and work with regulated parties. McCarthy’s diplomatic skills will surely be put to the test over the next few years as she becomes the face of President Obama’s ambitions to tackle climate change through regulations.  For two views of McCarthy and what to expect during her tenure, compare Susie Cagle’s profile of her in the environmentalist blog Grist to that of Geoff Giordano in the International Coal Industry publication, Cornerstone.

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