Senators Durbin and Kirk Split Votes on the Future of Our Environment and Public Health
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate today confirmed Gina McCarthy as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin voted to confirm and Senator Mark Kirk voted against confirming Ms. McCarthy. The confirmation came just weeks after President Obama instructed EPA to cut carbon pollution from power plants as part of his plan to fight global warming. Kate Abendroth, Field Associate for Environment Illinois, issued the following statement in response:
“Gina McCarthy’s confirmation is long-awaited good news for the planet and Illinoisans’ health.
“Ms. McCarthy’s stellar work under both Republican and Democratic governors, coupled with her track record at EPA proves that when it comes to protecting our families’ health and environment, it isn’t about which party or who you work for. It’s about whether you can get the job done. Gina McCarthy can get the job done.
“Working with a variety of stakeholders over the past four years, Ms. McCarthy was integral to several historic initiatives, including new federal clean car standards that represent the biggest step the U.S. has ever taken to get off oil and tackle global warming; the first-ever federal limits on mercury pollution from power plants; and the first-ever proposed federal limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.
“I am confident that Ms. McCarthy will continue to put her professionalism and commitment to work developing solutions to the formidable environmental challenges we still face.
“There is much that remains to be done. In the next three years, we’re counting on EPA to finalize carbon limits for new and existing power plants — the largest sources of global warming pollution — as outlined in President Obama’s recently announced Climate Action Plan. In addition EPA must secure protections for all our waterways, ensuring safe drinking water for 117 million Americans, limiting pollution from development and factory farms. EPA must deal with the tremendous health and environmental threats from fracking and move ahead with other much-needed environmental initiatives.
“I thank Senator Durbin for voting to confirm Gina McCarthy’s appointment and am disappointed Senator Kirk voted against the confirmation.
“Environment Illinois looks forward to working with EPA and its new chief to address our most pressing environmental challenges.”