Obama nominates three new cabinet members

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2013 - Just a few hours prior to holding the first Cabinet meeting of his second term, President Barack Obama nominated three new Cabinet members.

The president nominated Ernes Moniz to be the next Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary, Gina McCarthy as the next Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator and Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Moniz is a physicist by training, who has directed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Energy Initiative. He also served as Associate Director for Science and served as Under Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. 

McCarthy has been assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation since June 2009. Prior to her current position, McCarthy served as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. She was also deputy secretary of Operations for the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, an agency that coordinates policies and programs of the state's environmental, transportation, energy and housing agencies. That program was created by then Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.

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In her current position, McCarthy has been involved in a number of biofuel-related issues, such as the agency's approval of E15, the investigation and handling of fraudulent renewable identification numbers and annual implementation of the renewable fuels standard.

Mathews Burwell served under Jack Lew as Deputy Director of OMB in the 1990's Later, she helped the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as president of their Global Development Program and since 2011, as president of the Walmart Foundation.

Industry reaction to the nominees was largely favorable and several farm and environmental groups offered positive comments on McCarthy.


“I am delighted that Gina McCarthy has been nominated to be our nation's next EPA Administrator. As her strong record demonstrates, she is a thoughtful leader known for advancing environmental protections that bolster the nation's health and economy,” noted Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.


Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis described McCarthy as a strong supporter of biofuels.


“We look forward to working with her to bring sustainable, clean, homegrown American fuels to the consumer. This will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs and spur economic growth, in addition to providing motorists a choice and savings at the pump, all while ensuring important environmental concerns will be a top priority.”


In 2009, Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, invited McCarthy and co-worker Margo Oge to get a first-hand look at the Kimberley farm in central Iowa farm. He was joined by Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, members of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and Iowa Corn Growers Association.


“She seemed to be very approachable and a good listener,” recalled Grant Kimberley, who grew up on the farm and also serves as Director of Marketing for the ISA.


“She asked a lot of good questions and I think genuinely wanted to hear a farmer's perspective and seemed interested in helping agriculture be successful and working with us in a practical way.”  


I also think she enjoyed climbing up on the tractor and learning about all the technology that farmers utilize in today's modern agriculture system. I think she was probably a little amazed and impressed by the complexity of modern agriculture,” Kimberley observed.


 Accompanied by Senator Grassley and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, EPA officials
Gina McCarthyand Margaret Oge spent a day in Iowa to learn about modern agriculture in 2009.
Their trip included a visit to the Rick Kimberley farm near Maxwell, where the two EPA officials
got a first-hand look at the high technology machinery used on their farm.



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