Environmental Protection Agency leader confirmed after four-month delay

After a record 136-day battle, a vote in the US Senate has confirmed Gina McCarthy as the new leader of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

McCarthy, who has been at the EPA for the past four years, was nominated by President Obama back in March to take over from former head Lisa Jackson. But the appointment faced fierce opposition from Republican senators who object to the president’s plans for environmental policy, including new measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The standoff meant the EPA was without a leader for almost five months, but eventually McCarthy won the support of six republicans and the Senate voted 59 to 40 to confirm her position.

McCarthy will oversee the action plan for climate change, which is expected to focus on reducing emissions from industry. While her appointment has been welcomed by environmental groups, many Republicans remain opposed to the plans, regarding them as ‘draconian’ and economically damaging.