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Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Environment - Acting USEPA air chief likely to be nominated by Obama to fill the vacancy
Environment & Energy Publishing on Monday had a lengthy story by Jason Plaautz about Janet McCabe, who headed the IDEM air office pre-Mitch Daniels's election. Some quotes:
President Obama is expected to keep leadership steady at U.S. EPA's critical Office of Air and Radiation when he announces a nominee to replace Gina McCarthy, who was confirmed as EPA administrator in July.There is much more in the lengthy story, including:
The smart money is on Janet McCabe, McCarthy's former deputy and acting chief of the air office, the primary rule writer in Obama's push to use the Clean Air Act to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.
McCabe and McCarthy have a lot in common. Both have extensive experience as state regulators, reputations for straight talk and a willingness to engage with friend and foe alike and backgrounds in public health.
They differ in style.
"Janet's a little more quiet, while Gina is more gregarious," said Margo Oge, who retired last year as EPA's director of transportation and air quality. "She comes across as a great listener and someone who's very open-minded. She has a real grasp on the issues, and I found her to be a very quick learner."
McCabe has been praised by environmentalists and industry officials alike for her handling of complex regulations both at the state level in Indiana and at EPA. If she's nominated for the full-time job or stays as acting air office chief, McCabe would be tasked to tackle the dirty work on the climate plan, including advancing a proposal on limiting emissions from new power plants and moving ahead with rules on existing plants.
That's not to mention work on several air quality standards and revisions to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which regulates harmful emissions that cross state lines.
"I think she's a perfect fit for that job. She's got a keen awareness of how these issues affect state governments, and states are such critical partners with EPA on air programs," said Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. "Janet not only hits the ground running, she's in the middle of it already."
It's McCabe's experience in the air office that appeals to environmentalists. And industry groups will be more prepared to deal with an official with whom they've worked for years. For EPA -- already grappling with senior-level retirements in the air office -- a steady hand at the tiller is seen as invaluable (Greenwire, May 15).
The fact that McCabe has so much in common with McCarthy as a regulator also doesn't hurt.
"Wholly apart from the fact that McCarthy is still her boss, she would approach that job very much the way McCarthy did," said David Doniger, policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate and clean air program.
"She's smart, she's competent and she's really part of the team. Her approach is pragmatism, openness and a very thorough understanding of the subject matter, both legal and substantive."
According to her official EPA biography, McCabe was brought up in Washington, D.C., and got both a bachelor's and a law degree from Harvard University. After leaving Harvard Law School in 1983, she began her career in Massachusetts -- as did McCarthy -- rising to become a assistant state attorney general for environmental protection and assistant secretary for environmental impact review before departing in 1993.ILB: The husband would be Jon Larimore, B&D.
She switched states when she followed her husband back to his home state of Indiana, joining the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).
James Bruggers, at his Louisville Courier Journal blog, has a long post headed "From Indiana to EPA, Janet McCabe plays central role in developing new climate rules."
Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 2, 2013 09:52 AM
Posted to Environment