Connecticut’s former top environmental official — Gina McCarthy — is reported to be leading the short list to take over the top slot at the Environmental Protection Agency. McCarthy currently runs the air division there as the assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.

Reuters is reporting that President Obama is leaning toward appointing McCarthy to succeed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson who announced her resignation in December. But the story also indicated that Jackson’s deputy, Bob Perciasepe, was still in the mix.

McCarthy was appointed to run the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (when it was still called that) in 2004 by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. She joined the Obama administration’s EPA in 2009. She had previously served as an environmental adviser in Massachusetts to then-Gov. Mitt Romney.

McCarthy was instrumental in the formation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and helped Connecticut become part of that in addition to championing other environmental programs including the ongoing education effort — No Child Left Inside. While outspoken and pro-active, she was highly regarded on both sides of the political aisle and by the environmental community.

“She’d be a great choice if selected,” said Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain who worked under McCarthy for about five years. “She had an outstanding record in Connecticut. She was well liked and admired here.”

Jan Ellen is CT Mirror's regular freelance Environment and Energy Reporter. As a freelance reporter, her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Yale Climate Connections, and elsewhere. She is a former editor at The Hartford Courant, where she handled national politics including coverage of the controversial 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. She was an editor at the Gazette in Colorado Springs and spent more than 20 years as a TV and radio producer at CBS News and CNN in New York and in the Boston broadcast market. In 2013 she was the recipient of a Knight Journalism Fellowship at MIT on energy and climate. She graduated from the University of Michigan and attended Boston University’s graduate film program.

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