By Molly Gibson, OCP Summer Intern 2013
Gina McCarthy, newly confirmed Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, spoke at HLS Tuesday about the many successes the EPA has achieved in its forty-three year history, as well as the challenges she envisions for its future.
Following remarks from Dean Martha Minow, McCarthy was introduced by her daughter, Maggie McCarey, a program coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. For McCarthy, a Boston area native, the event was an opportunity to return to her roots. She spoke about the EPA’s interventions in local industrial communities like Lowell, where textile factory runoff used to turn the river yellow, red, or blue—depending on what dyes were being used.
During the address—McCarthy’s first as Administrator—she reflected on the importance of striving toward sustainability for future generations. McCarthy stressed the need to consider climate change solutions as a fundamental part of the country’s “economic agenda,” rather than a detriment to economic progress. She pointed to both the Clean Air Act and the Brownfields program as examples of how environmental regulations can spark job growth.
Slashing carbon pollution will be McCarthy’s biggest test while at the helm of the EPA, yet she was confident about the organization’s ability to rise to the challenge. “Climate change will not be resolved overnight. But it will be engaged over the next three years. That I can promise you.”