U.S. EPA Head’s Top Regret: Failing To Connect With Rural America

Among the millions of rural Americans who voted for incoming president Donald Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s legacy of hard-nosed regulation earned it a reputation as a jobs killer – a fact that outgoing EPA Director Gina McCarthy says could prove to be one of her biggest regrets. “We tried to change the outreach and messaging in rural America in a number of ways, but … has it changed the rhetoric that people hear? It hasn’t,” McCarthy said in an interview this week at EPA headquarters in Washington. “We couldn’t get it, but I wish we had.” During Barack Obama’s presidency, the agency tackled climate change with a raft of new rules targeting carbon dioxide emissions, measures McCarthy credits for spurring other countries to join a global climate agreement in Paris in December 2015.

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