The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is not worried about a Republican president coming into office or increased scrutiny of her work by the GOP in Congress, saying the agency will withstand the onslaught.
"Despite the fact that we have folks on the Hill that are concerned about EPA and the way in which we do our business, we'll be able to stand up to that scrutiny," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in an interview with Bloomberg BNA released on Friday.
Nevertheless, McCarthy conceded that "the environment has never been an easy partisan issue." She said the agency will strive to do its work in a nonpartisan way, saying both Democrats and Republicans care about public health and the environment.
"It's always been a struggle, but it's always been that Republicans and Democrats care about the health of their kids," she said. "We're going to keep delivering on the promises that they made many years ago when [President] Richard Nixon started the EPA."
"We're going to do our work in a nonpartisan way, we're going to follow the science and the law and we're going to protect our kids," McCarthy added.
She also argued that the public's overwhelming support for the EPA's core mission of protecting clean air, water and land will act to insulate the agency from attacks.
"The general public wants clean air, they want clean land, they want safe drinking water, they want the recreation opportunities that clean rivers and streams produce," she said. "This is core value of what we do. I know that we're on safe ground in terms of continuing the work we do moving forward, whether we're under a Republican or a Democratic leadership."
McCarthy made the comments while responding to a question by Bloomberg BNA about the EPA's relationship with Congress, citing 14 positions requiring Senate confirmation that have not gone forward, subpoenas from Senate Republicans for information across several regulations and incidents involving the agency.
Despite the increased scrutiny, McCarthy said people still want to work for the agency, and she is overwhelmed by employment inquiries.
She said: "When EPA puts out an opportunity for folks to come into the agency and fill positions, I still get a ton of applications."
"Young people really care about [climate change], and they are willing to come into public service to address it, even when they know there are challenges, and the agency is under very close scrutiny," McCarthy added. "And that's because the work we do still matters.
"We do great work and we work hard to make sure that we do it well and we meet all the rules," she said.