News/Energy & Environment

Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group

Aaron Schwartz

A former Obama administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief has been named president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The NRDC announced Gina McCarthy as their new leader over Twitter. She is set to start in January at the beginning of the organization’s 50-year anniversary, according to the group’s press release.

“NRDC for 50 years has been fighting for us, for our health, for our environment, for our resources,” McCarthy said in a video posted on Twitter. “We are at the lead of the climate fight, and we are going to take it, and we are going to fight, and we are going to win.”


McCarthy has been highly critical of the agency she once ran now that it’s under Trump administration leadership. In June she joined other Republican and Democratic former EPA heads who appeared before a House committee complaining the agency has abandoned its mission.

“It’s time for them to step up and do their jobs,” she said at the hearing, referring to the agency’s political leadership. “Just do your jobs. Right now this administration is trying to systemically undo health protections by running roughshod over the law.”

McCarthy is joining one of the most aggressive organizations in battling repeated rollbacks to Obama-era policy. 

NRDC has taken the Trump administration to court 96 times based off its cuts to environmental regulations, and the council won 54 of the 59 finished cases, according to its release.

McCarthy served as former President Obama’s EPA administrator from 2013 to 2017, and previously as the head of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Before that, she advised six governors — five Republicans and one Democrat — on environmental issues as part of her three-decade career in advocacy and public service, according to the release.

“Gina McCarthy is one of the most effective environmental champions of our time. She knows better than anyone what we can — and must — do to combat climate change and ensure all communities can thrive,” Alan Horn, chair of NRDC’s board of trustees, said in the statement.

Rebecca Beitsch contributed reporting.


Tags Climate change Donald Trump Ed Case Environmental movement Environmental Protection Agency EPA Gina McCarthy green groups Natural Resources Defense Council NRDC

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