Murphy tabs ex-EPA official to head state DEP

Catherine McCabe, a former deputy assistant administrator at the federal Environmental Protection Agency, is Gov.-elect Phil Murphy’s pick for commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

“Catherine has been recognized throughout her career as a strong advocate and leader, and I am asking her to reassert New Jersey’s leadership on the national and global stages,” Murphy said. “New Jersey needs a commissioner who understands fully the threats we face, who is tough on polluters, who is understanding of those living in environmentally sensitive areas and who recognizes that our twin goals of a resilient and responsible future and a strong and fair economy aren’t mutually exclusive. Catherine McCabe is the leader we need to make policy based on scientific fact, not politics.”

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce supported Murphy’s pick.

“She brings a wealth of experience, including a decade at the Environmental Protection Agency and more than 20 years at the Department of Justice, where she focused on environmental issues. The state DEP commissioner is a crucial post. Sound DEP policy is critical to both the health of New Jersey’s environment and its economy. We look forward to working with the nominee,” NJCC said in a statement.

McCabe joined the EPA in 2005, and prior to that spent 22 years working for the U.S. Department of Justice on environmental enforcement.

“It is time for New Jersey to lead again. We have no more time to waste,” McCabe said in a statement. “Now is the time to take action, both to help lead the way in slowing climate change, and adapting to make our communities more resilient. I look forward to working with Gov.-elect Murphy and the rest of his team, the Legislature and the people of New Jersey to address this challenge and the many other important environmental issues that New Jersey faces.”

“From reducing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, to ensuring environmental justice in urban communities, to safeguarding  clean air, water and protected open space for the next generation, Catherine will always put science before politics and do what’s best to protect the health of families and the environment,” said a former EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, who headed the EPA throughout President Barack Obama’s second term. “I’m thrilled to support her nomination as commissioner, and look forward to New Jersey returning to the forefront of environmental protection.”