President Clinton, in November, nominated W. Michael McCabe, administrator of EPA’s Region III, as the agency’s deputy administrator.
While waiting for the Senate to act on his nomination, McCabe, of Chadds Ford, PA, will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the nation’s environmental watchdog and will serve as the top policy adviser to EPA Administrator Carol Browner.
“Michael McCabe has done an outstanding job as regional administrator for the mid-Atlantic states, tackling some of the toughest environmental and public health problems in the nation,” Browner said.
Appointed by President Clinton in 1995, McCabe has been the longest serving administrator for Region III, which includes the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
As regional administrator, McCabe was active in the Bay Program, serving on the Principals Staff Committee, the program’s second highest policy-making body. He played an important role in many policies, including the development of the 1997 Executive Council directive calling for state and federal governments to develop strategies to increase the amount of wetlands in their jurisdictions.
More recently, he had worked to ensure that the Bay Program would be in charge of setting goals to meet the EPA’s TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) requirements for the Chesapeake.
McCabe’s accomplishments in the EPA’s middle Atlantic region include directing a national approach to managing poultry waste from factory farms and spearheading a four-agency federal effort to strengthen permitting for mining low-sulfur coal supplies while protecting streams in the Appalachian coal fields.
McCabe has directed regional staff to test new, performance-based approaches to environmental protection, and Region III leads the nation with the highest number of innovative regulatory pilots under Project XL.
He has also taken a firm stand against pollution, and successfully sought the stiffest fine ever levied under the Clean Water Act — $12.6 million — from Smithfield Foods, the largest U.S. pork producer, and pressured the company to redirect its slaughterhouse waste stream from Chesapeake Bay headwaters to a sewage treatment plant.
In 1996, McCabe led the EPA’s effort to fix the drinking water crisis that gripped the District of Columbia, where residents were forced to boil water. He sent in technical experts from around the country, sampled water daily, set an enforceable rebuild schedule for the drinking water system, established telephone hotlines and helped put a new management structure in place.
Prior to his EPA appointment, McCabe worked for Sen. Joe Biden, D-DE, as director of communications and projects from 1987 to 1995. Before that, he served as staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy Conservation and Power Subcommittee, and as staff director of the bipartisan Congressional Environmental and Energy Study Conference.
In 1980, McCabe organized and directed the national commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Earth Day.