A Leadership Career in Government: EPA Chief Speaks | Gina McCarthy | Voices in Leadership | Summary and Q&A

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March 2, 2016
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Harvard University
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A Leadership Career in Government: EPA Chief Speaks | Gina McCarthy | Voices in Leadership

TL;DR

Jana McCarthy, former EPA administrator, discusses her experiences leading the EPA and the challenges of addressing climate change and improving air and water quality.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Jana McCarthy get interested in cooking and become a fan of Barefoot Contessa?

McCarthy started cooking as a distraction from her busy job and has lived away from home for the past 11-12 years. She views cooking as a celebration and a way to relax and enjoy time with loved ones. She admires Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, for her cooking skills.

Q: What was one of McCarthy's first jobs in public health and how did it shape her view of the world?

McCarthy worked as a health officer in her hometown and was responsible for various public health tasks, including vaccinations, health clinics, restaurant inspections, and housing inspections. This experience made her realize the importance of community health work and the interconnectedness of environmental issues on a larger scale.

Q: What is McCarthy's perspective on being the EPA administrator and the challenges that come with the position?

McCarthy enjoys her job and brings a wealth of experience and understanding to the table. She emphasizes the importance of speaking clearly and focusing on priority issues. Despite criticism, she remains dedicated to making progress and finding the right solutions. McCarthy also mentions the support she receives from the Obama administration in addressing environmental challenges.

Q: What is the current status of the Clean Power Plan and how does McCarthy view its future?

McCarthy explains that the Clean Power Plan is still in effect, despite a Supreme Court decision to impose a stay. She remains confident that the plan will survive and emphasizes the significant progress and momentum already achieved in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency. McCarthy also highlights the global recognition and urgency of tackling climate change.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Jana McCarthy was appointed by President Obama to lead the EPA and focused on addressing climate change, improving air quality, and protecting water resources.

  • McCarthy considers the cleanup of Boston Harbor as one of her major achievements and emphasizes the importance of public health in environmental work.

  • She discusses the challenges of crisis management, such as the Colorado River turning yellow and the Flint Water Crisis, and highlights the need for strong communication and community involvement.

  • McCarthy acknowledges the difficulty of making decisions in areas with scientific uncertainty and emphasizes the importance of using the best available science.

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