On Thursday,, the Senate approved President Barack Obama’s new pick for EPA Administrator.

Gina McCarthy, who had been head of the EPA’s office of air and radiation, won confirmation to the top spot by a vote of 59 to 40, reported The Washington Post.  The paper reports that McCarthy has been instrumental in the agency’s efforts to address climate change, soot and mercury pollution (link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/18/senate-confirms-gina-mccarthy-as-next-epa-administrator-in-59-to-40-vote/)

McCarthy has worked with Republican administrations at the state level before, but the president had trouble getting her confirmed. A lot of that didn’t have to do with her personally, but rather with Republicans - and industry - concerned about the overreach of the agency in a whole host of areas. In the Chesapeake Bay region, the EPA’s authority has been challenged in the courts several times. The American Farm Bureau Federation groups have challenged the EPA's Chesapeake Bay total Maximum Daily Load in court (link: http://www.bayjournal.com/article/court_hears_arguments_on_challenges_to_bay_tmdl)  Earlier this year a judge ruled against the agency in a Fairfax County, VA, case, saying that it could not use water as a surrogate for sediment in developing a TMDL. (link:http://www.bayjournal.com/article/judge_finds_fault_with_epa_method_to_measure_sediment_flow_in_creek)  Another case, on whether it has the authority to regulate agricultural stormwater, is still pending in West Virginia. (link:http://www.bayjournal.com/article/wv_farmer_hopes_suit_will_clarify_epa_policy_on_poultry_runoff)

Environmentalists cheered the announcement.  You can see CBF’s statement on the appintment here:

This post article, by environmental and political reporter Juliet Eilperin,(http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/07/19/new-epa-chief-has-an-ambitious-to-do-list/) gives a good list of what she’ll be tackling in the next year. It’s not a short list.