Let Gina McCarthy be confirmed as EPA head; She’s good for both business and the environment

Unfortunately, some members of the Senate have chosen to stall her nomination and prevent EPA from having the necessary leadership to conduct its important work. The reasons for the delay have nothing to do with Ms. McCarthy’s credentials. Instead, it is a clear signal that to some in the Senate, the responsibility of the EPA to ensure the nation’s environmental health itself is in question.

But clear regulations are a help, not a hindrance, to business. For businesses like mine to be their most productive and innovative, we need clear rules. When regulatory agencies can’t or don’t provide them, that becomes a hindrance.

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Much like our ever-warming planet, the political environment of our country continues to grow more and more heated. McCarthy can help reduce the temperature. She has successfully served as adviser to five different governors, including former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. She knows how to work across the aisle and get the job done. These qualities have never been needed more as the nation moves ahead in addressing climate change. Having worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations, McCarthy is just the leader to overcome these obstacles.

The business community has found McCarthy to be a good partner. She is a straight shooter, makes decisions based on facts, is open to all input, and she understands business. In particular, she understands the need for timely resolutions and reducing regulatory uncertainty. When she visited Ambri’s R&D lab where we are creating a grid electricity storage technology, she immediately understood, appreciated, and heralded one of our guiding principles at Ambri -- invent to the price point that the market will bear without requiring any subsidies or mandates.

Presidential nominees should get an up-or-down vote. Allowing objections like Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) hold on McCarthy, which he placed on her nomination in March over EPA's historic involvement in a Missouri floodway project, have nothing to do with her abilities.

As Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, McCarthy spearheaded efforts many thought unattainable and risky. She combined  new carbon pollution standards with the Department of Transportation’s fuel economy standards. As a result, the regulations were business friendly and actually save companies money on fuel costs.

Small business owners like me urge Congress to finally act. Stalling McCarthy’s nomination is irresponsible and it is disheartening to see partisanship take control over such an important confirmation process. We are optimistic with the recent push for an up or down vote from Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and the signal from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that he no longer plans to impede the process. With the many obstacles that stand in the way of functionality at the EPA, confirmation of its leader shouldn’t even be in the realm of possibility.  

According to recent polling by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), 72 perecent of small business owners want government agencies to focus more on renewable energy projects. In addition, 79 percent of small business owners support increasing energy efficiency standards. The business community is coalescing behind the call for renewable energy action, but successful action will require the right leadership.

Founded in 1970, by President Richard Nixon, the EPA has grown from a regulatory body, to a powerful agency that shapes both the environmental and economic direction of the country. What it needs is a leader who has a proven record protecting both. Gina McCarthy is that person. I urge Congress to act swiftly and confirm McCarthy has head of the EPA. Small business owners like me need confidence in our government and with McCarthy at the helm, I know the environment and economy will both be well cared for.

Giudice is CEO of Ambri Inc, which creates grid electricity storage solutions that enable separation of power demand from power supply.

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