2016 Lions Den Award Letter

Ms. Regina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460

July 20, 2016

Dear Gina,

We at the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) are very pleased to present you with our “Lion’s Den” award for your lifetime of courageous service on behalf of those who cannot protect themselves, especially our children – born, unborn, and those yet to be born.

As White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently said:

“there's a strong case to make the United States of America has never had a better administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency than Gina McCarthy” (Mar. 17, 2016).

We agree wholeheartedly.

Such an assessment rests in good measure upon the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan, the cornerstone of our nation’s efforts to overcome climate change.  This, the greatest moral challenge of our time, hits the poor the hardest, those least responsible or able to cope.  Your courage in standing up for justice for the poor in the Lion’s Den of climate denial and opposition is a testament to your character.

It is equally true that there has never been a better Assistant Administrator at the EPA, in your case as the head of the Office of Air and Radiation from 2009-2013.  During that time your team created the greatest government regulation to protect the unborn child from pollution in our nation’s history, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard or MATS.  Not only did this rule regulate mercury from power plants for the first time, it has made a major contribution to reducing smog, soot, and carbon pollution.  A recent Bloomberg analysis shows it has been the MATS rule that has been the primary driver for a massive shuttering of coal-burning power plants, which in turn is responsible for cleaning our air and our country being significantly ahead of the game on our carbon reduction goals as part of the Paris agreement.

From the beginning of your career in 1980 as your hometown’s health officer, through numerous positions in your home state of Massachusetts in both Democrat and Republican Administrations, to your position as head of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, you have never shirked a challenge.  You have fought the good fight to make things better, finding ways for all parties to work together to achieve the common good so that everyone wins.

The future is by definition uncertain for finite creatures such as ourselves.  We are but dust in whom God has breathed life.  Reflecting upon uncertainty, a very wise woman recently told the graduates at the Vermont Law School:

“live in that uncertainty for your whole life because it makes you so aware of your life and your place in it … constantly challenging yourself to do something different and better” (May 21, 2016).

What’s next for you?  God knows.  But we do know this.  While well-earned already, as you graduate from the EPA it is premature to say “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 

The Lord has more for you to do.  Keep watching cooking shows and playing golf with your son to preserve some balance, but your future still has times when you will be in the Lion’s Den.  The good news is this.  What has always been true your whole life still remains so: The Lord is with you; the Lord will be with you; He will never leave you.

And so as your time at EPA comes to an end in a few months, heed again the words of that wise woman speaking to the Vermont graduates: “You must go out and make the world more just; you must go out and make our children healthier …”

In that spirit we present you with our Lion’s Den award.  It has been a privilege fighting the good fight with you.  We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Your friend and with the Grace of Jesus,

The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox






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