Governor-elect Murphy Names EPA’s Catherine McCabe to Lead NJ Department of Environmental Protection

Governor-elect Murphy Names EPA’s Catherine McCabe to Lead NJ Department of Environmental Protection


Long Branch – Calling for new leadership that acknowledges the reality of climate change and ensures New Jersey’s environmental policy is forward-looking, Governor-elect Phil Murphy today named Catherine McCabe to serve as 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” said Governor-elect Murphy. “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.”

McCabe will come to New Jersey from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, where she has served as Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, as a judge on EPA’s Court of Appeals, and as both deputy and acting regional administrator of EPA’s Region 2, and as acting administrator of the EPA itself. Prior to joining EPA in 2005, McCabe spent 22 years working on environmental issues at the United States Department of Justice, and was named Deputy Chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section in 2001.

“It is time for New Jersey to lead again. We have no more time to waste,” said McCabe. “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 Governor-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.”

McCabe further said that, as commissioner, she would focus on restoring “essential principles” of following the best science and the law to ensure the Department’s fundamental duty to protect both the environment and public health. She committed to listening to all communities and sectors of New Jersey’s economy that are affected by the Department’s work.

Both Murphy and McCabe noted a strong belief that environmental protection and economic growth go hand-in-hand, and will work to a more sustainable economic future for the state.

Murphy also said he will look to McCabe to help develop a new Energy Master Plan for the state that would put New Jersey on the path to 100 percent clean energy reliance by 2050, with achievable shorter-term benchmarks.

McCabe’s nomination was hailed by two former EPA administrators, Gina McCarthy and Lisa Jackson.

“Having both led New Jersey’s DEP and worked alongside Catherine at the EPA, I know she has the skills and experience the department needs right now,” said Jackson, who served as New Jersey’s DEP Commissioner from 2006 until joining the administration of President Barack Obama in 2009. “She understands the urgency of building resiliency, the importance of enforcement and environmental justice, and the promise that renewable energy holds to both power a diverse and growing economy and fight climate change. Governor-elect Murphy has made an exceptional choice.”

“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 McCarthy, who headed the EPA throughout President 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.”

McCabe, 66, holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and a law degree, both from Columbia University. She and her husband, Kevin, have three children, Cara, Patrick, and Sheila.

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