Catherine McCabe

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Catherine McCabe
Catherine McCabe.jpg
Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Assumed office
January 22, 2018
Acting: January 22 – June 19, 2018
Governor Phil Murphy
Deputy Deborah Mans
Preceded by Bob Martin
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
In office
January 20, 2017 – February 17, 2017
President Donald Trump
Deputy Mike Flynn
Preceded by Gina McCarthy
Succeeded by Scott Pruitt
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Education Columbia University (BA, JD)

Catherine McCabe is a public administrator and environmental lawyer who served as Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from January to February 2017. She currently serves as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.


McCabe graduated from Albany High School in Albany, New York in 1969.[1] She attended Barnard College of Columbia University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in environmental sciences. She also studied toward a master's degree in environmental science at the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1977.[2]


McCabe worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York. She was also an associate at the New York City law firm of Webster & Sheffield.[2]

Department of Justice[edit]

McCabe spent 22 years working in the Department of Justice, specializing in environmental issues.[3] In 2001, she became Deputy Chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section of the Department of Justice.[4]

Environmental Protection Agency[edit]

In 2005, she moved to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where she was the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. After seven years with the EPA, McCabe became one of three judges on the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board, where she served until 2014.[4][5][6] McCabe then served as Deputy Regional Administrator of EPA's Region 2, covering New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.[7][6] McCabe also served as Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) from January to May 2009 and Acting Regional Administrator of EPA's Region 2 from February to October 2017.[8]

She was selected by the outgoing Obama Administration to serve as Acting EPA Administrator starting on January 20, 2017 until President Donald Trump's EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt, was confirmed in February 2017.[2][3] Following his confirmation, she returned to Region 2 to serve as Acting Regional Administrator.[9]

During her time as Acting EPA Administrator, McCabe commented that the Trump administration's hiring freeze was creating challenges for the agency's work. Nevertheless, McCabe stated that agency staff would "continue to do our best to ensure that this agency’s decisions and actions are based on our two bedrock principles: carrying out the law and ensuring that the best science informs all that we do.”[10]

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection[edit]

In December 2017, New Jersey governor-elect Phil Murphy announced he would nominate McCabe to serve as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.[7] Environmental groups New Jersey Sierra Club and Clean Water Action supported McCabe's nomination, which was approved on June 7, 2018.[11]

Personal life[edit]

McCabe is married with three children.[12] She and her husband have a home in Ocean City, New Jersey, which was hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.[7]


  1. ^ "City School District of Albany Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "EPA's Acting Administrator". Archived from the original on January 21, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Bronwne, Ryan; Payson-Denney, Wade (January 19, 2017). "The people you don't know who could be running the government on Friday". CNN. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Sherman, Paul (November 13, 2012). "Careers in environmental law focus of EPA judge's talk". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "Fighting the Good Fight". Columbia Law School. March 12, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  6. ^ a b O'Niell, James M. (December 21, 2017). "Murphy picks a top EPA official to set new tone as state's top environmental regulator". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Ioti, Marisa (December 21, 2017). "Murphy nominates ex-acting EPA chief as state DEP commissioner". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "US EPA Government Manual". GPO. September 15, 2009.
  9. ^ "About the Acting Regional Administrator for EPA's Region 2 Office".
  10. ^ Dennis, Brady (February 15, 2017). "Acting EPA Head: Hiring Freeze Challenges 'Our Ability to Get the Agency's Work Done". Washington Post. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "Senate Confirms Six of Gov. Phil Murphy's Cabinet Picks". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Governor-elect Murphy Names EPA's Catherine McCabe to Lead NJ Department of Environmental Protection - Insider NJ". Insider NJ. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
Political offices
Preceded by
Gina McCarthy
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Succeeded by
Scott Pruitt