For the first time since leaving her post at the Environmental Protection Agency, former Administrator Gina McCarthy is talking about the future of science and environmental policy in the Trump administration.
“I’m hoping that this administration will treat science as fact and not look at it like a religious exercise,” she said in an exclusive interview Tuesday.
When asked about the media blackout imposed at the EPA and other departments since President Donald Trump took office, the Massachusetts native said it’s “a little disconcerting.”
She added that she hopes the move is one of “inexperience as opposed to intent.”
Climate change policy, which was a focus for McCarthy under President Barack Obama, now faces an uncertain future after Trump labeled it a hoax.
“That is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue, it’s a human issue,” she said. “Climate change is the biggest environmental, economic, national security, public health challenge that we face today and the science is undeniable. It is robust.”
Trump has heavily insinuated he would gut the EPA, to which McCarthy said, “it’s about our kids, it’s about our families, you can’t just unilaterally decide to put it on hold and expect that our world will continue as we’ve grown to understand it.”
One of the President’s criticisms of the EPA is overregulation that costs states and business.
“Everybody always has to look at whether regulations still are relevant, and whether you can make them easier to implement from everybody’s perspective,” McCarthy agreed, but she cautioned that any decisions need to be made thoughtfully. “Let’s do this as an adult exercise that respects the science and the law.”
She added that states frequently rely on the EPA for help during a crisis.
“There was a water contamination in Corpus Christi a few weeks back, even though Texas often sues the EPA we were the first ones they called,” she noted.
Her parting advice for the new administration — let science drive policy, not the other way around.