The Natural Resources Defense Council has named Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator under President Obama, to be its next president.
NRDC, one of the nation’s largest environmental groups, which has sued the Trump administration’s EPA dozens of times, made the announcement today, nine months after Rhea Suh announced she would leave the group after five years as its president. McCarthy, 65, will take the reins next year, which is NRDC’s 50th anniversary.
"I take the helm determined to see that NRDC brings our country, and our world, together in the fight for a future that is healthier, more sustainable and equitable," McCarthy said in a statement.
"For 50 years NRDC has stood up for the protection of our environment and the health of people. The climate crisis is the central challenge of our time. The stakes have never been higher, and NRDC has never been stronger," she said.
"NRDC was built for this moment. It was built for this mission. I am excited to work to expand NRDC’s reach and strengthen our capacity to drive needed change."
McCarthy’s hiring in some ways amounts to a direct challenge to the Trump administration. In her time leading EPA from 2013 to 2017, she oversaw or played a major role in the writing of many of the aggressive environmental policies that Trump has been working to undo, like the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water Rule, methane pollution standards for oil drillers, greenhouse gas standards for cars and the Paris climate agreement.
Before taking the helm at EPA in 2013, McCarthy was the assistant administrator for air and radiation. A native of Boston, McCarthy held previous jobs including top environmental policy posts both in Connecticut and in Massachusetts, where she worked for then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R), now a senator representing Utah.
"Gina McCarthy is one of the most effective environmental champions of our time. She knows better than anyone what we can — and must — do to combat climate change and ensure all communities can thrive," Alan Horn, co-chairman of Walt Disney Studios and chair of NRDC’s board of trustees, said in a statement.
Since Obama’s departure from office, McCarthy has been director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard University School of Public Health.
Suh earned $543,731 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018, the most recent for which records are available, according to NRDC’s tax filings.