Unlike several of his recent cabinet picks, where you had to squint to match the resume to the job, Thursday’s selection, like Wednesday’s pick for the Department of Transportation, comes with a CV packed with environmental bonafides.
“She has served, and this is a long list, as assistant New York attorney general, and as the deputy chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section of the federal Department of Justice,” recited the governor-elect. “She has been deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the federal Environmental Protection Agency … ”
You get the idea. She’s been around. The naming of Catherine McCabe as the governor-elect’s pick to head up the state’s Department of Environmental Protection drew praise from the state’s enviro-community, who has spent almost eight years in the political wilderness.
“We have no more time to waste,” said McCabe. “Now’s the time to take action both to help lead the way in helping to slow climate change and adapting to make our communities more resilient.”
“I remain, and we remain, committed to a new energy master plan, one that we have not had for a long time in this state, that would see our state achieve 100 percent clean energy by the year 2050, with, importantly, achievable, shorter-term benchmarks,” added Murphy.
Getting there by encouraging wind, solar and other alternative energies, and focusing, yes, on the shore where resilience is critical, but also on urban New Jersey, where choking smog from trucking and other port activities have affected asthma and cancer rates.
“She’s been a strong enforcer, going after polluters for wrong doing at a time when we’ve had an agency, not just during the Christie administration, but previous administrations, who’ve kept scaling down the agency and actually not going after polluters,” said Clean Water Action State Director Amy Goldsmith.
New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Ed Potosnak joined the chorus of praise for McCabe.
“We certainly have to make up for lost ground over the previous administration and that’s going to take some really dedicated individuals,” he said. “She’s going to need to build out a strong team, but I think New Jersey is well-positioned to be a leader once again on environmental protection.”
“We have been looking out, my husband and my children and I for years, at that horizon that we’re looking at here and saying ‘when are the windmills coming?'” said McCabe. “Clearly this has got to be New Jersey’s future and this is an opportunity we’ve been waiting for for far too long.”
Murphy said that the choice of this new environmental sheriff should be a signal to polluters, who’ve ravaged the Garden State for generations with impunity, but also to those companies looking to take advantage of the green economy, which he says has been slowed to crawl in the state.