It’s official. As has been widely reported (including here) for weeks, President Obama is nominating Connecticut’s former top environmental official – Gina McCarthy – to run the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s just a bit further up I-95 for the president since McCarthy replaces Lisa Jackson, who was New Jersey’s environmental chief. McCarthy has been serving as the assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at EPA, a position she took in 2009 directly from her tenure here.

McCarthy was appointed to run what was still called the Department of Environmental Protection here in 2005 by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican. Her bi-partisan service actually dates to her homes state of Massachusetts where she served as an environmental adviser to then Gov. Mitt Romney, also a Republican.

She was well-liked and respected here, even garnering a half-plea from then newly elected Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that she would be welcome back here.

For her diligence at EPA, McCarthy is being rewarded with the prize of stepping in at one of the agency’s most volatile and contentious moments. EPA is getting a healthy share of sequestration cuts. Emission rules for new power plants – largely crafted by McCarthy – are due for release and likely to spark a partisan battle on Capitol Hill. And President Obama’s commitment in his state of the union speech to enact more environmentally conscious regulations will keep EPA on the hot-seat.

McCarthy was one of the driving forces behind the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – the Northeast compact on power plant emissions reductions, and a number of other programs in Connecticut that remain today.

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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