04/11/2013 01:35 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2013

We Need Gina McCarthy's Leadership at the EPA

The Senate is moving forward this week with consideration of President Obama's nomination of Gina McCarthy to head the Environmental Protection Agency. This is an opportunity for the Senate to rise above partisanship and do what's right for families across the country -- confirm a proven problem-solver to head the EPA and protect public health.

The EPA is the cop on the beat in charge of protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink. All across the country, families count on the EPA to protect our children and families from dangerous air pollution, water pollution, and toxic chemicals in industrial and household products that threaten our health and safety.

Gina McCarthy is exceptionally well qualified to serve at the helm of the EPA. She has a distinguished record of standing up for public health throughout her 25-year career working on environmental issues at both the state and federal levels. While serving in her most recent position as head of the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, McCarthy has overseen the development of some of the most critical safeguards the EPA has issued in decades.

The EPA finalized the first-ever national standards reducing mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. These standards represent a significant victory for public health saving thousands of lives and preventing more than a hundred thousand asthma and heart attacks each year.

In partnership with the Department of Transportation, the EPA also made historic advancements in clean car standards that represent the single largest step the nation has taken to reduce carbon pollution. Widely supported by automakers, autoworkers, consumer and environmental groups, these standards will take billions of tons of carbon pollution out of our air, lessen our dependence on foreign oil, and help save consumers money at the pump.

The EPA also proposed the first-ever standards reducing industrial carbon pollution from new power plants. A record-breaking three million comments were submitted to the EPA in support of reducing carbon pollution from power plants, the nation's single largest source of emissions. The proposed standards for new power plants will improve public health, promote innovation, and create jobs.

Despite all this progress, there is still more work to do. That is why it is essential that the Senate puts aside partisanship and confirms Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator. McCarthy is widely respected by both environmentalists and industry for being a straight talker who knows how to get things done. She's worked for both Republicans and Democrats, including five different Republican governors in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

In 2009, Republicans and Democrats easily confirmed her as head of the EPA's clean air division, where she's made extraordinary progress protecting the air we breathe and defending public health. Now the Senate has the chance to put this proven problem-solver at the helm of the entire agency, so that our country can make more progress combating the climate crisis and protecting our air and water.

Gina McCarthy is an excellent pick to head the EPA. Republicans and Democrats should do in the weeks ahead what they did just a few years ago - come together and confirm Gina McCarthy.