New opportunities: Senate appoints EPA chief

For Immediate Release:  July 18, 2013
Contact:  Paul Towers, 916-216-1082, ptowers@panna.org

New opportunities: Senate appoints EPA chief

Today, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. The move comes after months of delay, following threats by a handful of Senators to filibuster her nomination. McCarthy is a veteran public servant, working on environmental issues in Massachusetts and Connecticut before joining the EPA in 2009.

In response to the Senate’s confirmation, PAN Policy Director Kristin Schafer issued the following statement:

"We are pleased that the agency charged with protecting public health from environmental harms now has its leadership in place. We hear Administrator McCarthy is a “straight-shooter,” and we look forward to working with her to help the agency move more quickly to follow the science as they make decisions that affect public health and the environment.

In particular, we urge McCarthy to turn her attention to the following issues where EPA action is long overdue:

  • Protect bees from pesticides. Bees are dying off in droves, in part from exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides. Our food system, agricultural economies and beekeeper livelihoods are at risk unless Administrator McCarthy takes swift action to restrict the use of bee-toxic pesticides and ensures these types of products are not brought to market in the first place.
  • Strengthen rules protecting farmworkers from harmful pesticides. The current Worker Protection Standards fall far short for the two million workers who plant, tend and harvest crops across the country. After 13 years of delay, an overhaul of these rules is now in progress; the agency should move quickly to complete this process and ensure that new rules do a better job protecting farmworkers and their families from pesticide harms.
  • Protect and promote children’s health, and move this work forward quickly and well. Children take in pesticides every day in their water, air and food and their small bodies are ill-equipped to withstand the accompanying harms. As the American Academy of Pediatrics notes, reducing children’s exposure to harmful pesticides is a very good idea; we urge Administrator McCarthy to make it a national priority."

For additional resources see Kristin’s blog: Remember, Gina: It’s about the kids