President Barack Obama named Gina McCarthy, the former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, as the nation’s next head of the Environmental Protection Agency in a press conference Monday morning.

McCarthy currently heads the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, where she tightened limits on soot and mercury emissions from power plants. In Connecticut, where she served under Republican Gov. Jodi Rell, McCarthy became known for regulating power companies in the state to curb greenhouse gas emissions – an act that many predict will draw criticism from Senate Republicans during the confirmation process.

In a statement today, Sen. Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, who served as Connecticut’s attorney general alongside McCarthy, said that though McCarthy was often “tough” in her environmental policies, she also kept economic issues in mind.

“She recognizes the need to sometimes strike a balance between environmental activism and economic growth – but that the two are more commonly mutually supportive,” he said.

Indeed, environmental activists laud her for what they see as an aggressive stance on climate issues. In her role as Massachusetts’ top environment executive – the role she held before coming to Connecticut – her work led to the landmark 2007 Supreme Court case that gave the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

If McCarthy is confirmed, she will replace current EPA head Lisa Jackson.