Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Path Forward
US Environmental Leadership Beyond 2020

Former U.S. EPA Administrators shared unique leadership insights for building public trust and addressing environmental and public health crises.

The US government must act swiftly and creatively to address climate change and protect public health. Unfortunately, the U.S. government faces something approaching a crisis in public legitimacy with regard to environmental policy. What kind of public leadership will suffice for this moment?

To discuss that question, Wake Forest University heard from two former U.S. EPA Administrators, Gina McCarthy and Lee Thomas. View the entire webinar from the November 9, 2020 event below.


Gina McCarthy, former EPA Administrator and current President of the Natural Resources Defense Council
Gina McCarthy

Gina McCarthy was EPA Administrator from 2013 to 2017. During her tenure, EPA established a Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants, set strict carbon emission standards for cars, created limits on methane emissions from oil and gas operations, issued the first health advisory for two "forever chemicals", PFOA and PFOS, and promoted EPA activities to address environmental justice. Before becoming Administrator, Ms. McCarthy headed EPA's air pollution control activities, and was the environmental commissioner for the state of Connecticut. She is a native of the Boston area, and is currently the President of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Lee Thomas, former EPA Administrator from 1985 - 1989
Lee M. Thomas

Lee M. Thomas was EPA Administrator from 1985 to 1989. During his tenure, EPA secured Congressional reauthorization of the Superfund law, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Clean Water Act. Mr. Thomas also led U.S. efforts to establish and ratify the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, an international agreement that has significantly reduced damage to stratospheric ozone that protects the earth from UV radiation. Before becoming Administrator, Mr. Thomas headed EPA's Superfund and waste management activities, and was a senior official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Following his service as Administrator he had a successful career as a business leader.

Dr. Stan Meiburg
Dr. Stan Meiburg

Dr. Stan Meiburg served as Acting Deputy Administrator for the EPA from 2014 to 2017, capping a 39-year career with the agency. He is known for leading efforts to protect the nation’s air and water, clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites, build collaborative relationships with state and tribal environmental programs, and promote sound management in EPA.

Meiburg joined the EPA in 1977 in Washington, D.C., and later served as Deputy Regional Director of the EPA’s Atlanta office and as the Deputy Regional Administrator in Dallas, Texas. He was only the second person in the agency’s history to serve as Deputy Regional Administrator in more than one region. From 1985 to 1990, he served with the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards in Research Triangle Park.

Dr. Meiburg is the Director of the The Master of Arts in Sustainability Program and associated dual degree and certificate programs at Wake Forest University. He works with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES).

This event was sponsored by the following programs at Wake Forest University:

The Sustainability Graduate Program

The Leadership and Character Program

The Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability

Photography credit for main image: Arek Socha on Pixabay.

Gina McCarthy photo: EPA/Public Domain.

Lee M. Thomas photo: Mrod411 / CC BY-SA on CreativeCommons.org.

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