Tuesday July 02, 2013 | 11:49 AM

WASHINGTON – A small business group is running television ads in Maine this week in order to pressure Republican Sen. Susan Collins to support President Obama’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

Gina McCarthy’s nomination to take over the EPA’s top job has been pending in the Senate for several months. Some Republican lawmakers have resisted efforts to move McCarthy’s nomination forward for a variety of reasons, including as a way to signal their strong opposition to Obama’s recently announced plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. (The EPA will develop the rules).

The American Sustainable Business Council – a small business advocacy group focused on environmental sustainability and “socially responsible” business practices – began airing ads today in Maine, New Hampshire and Ohio.

The ad, which features images from the three states, says McCarthy “has spent her career making sure environmental protection and economic interests work together.”

“Senator Collins has always supported small business,” the ad’s narration continues. “Tell her folks here would appreciate it if she did the same for Gina McCarthy.”

A Boston native, McCarthy works as the assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. She has previously worked as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and held various environmental posts in Massachusetts.

Collins has yet to say how she would vote on McCarthy’s nomination. But before a final vote can be held, Democrats will need to pick up enough Republicans to pass the 60-vote threshold required to break a filibuster and move the nomination forward.

Collins has, in the past, opposed filibusters of Cabinet nominees. She stated her reasons for doing so prior to the vote earlier this year on Obama’s nomination of former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to become defense secretary.

“As a general rule, I believe a president has the right to choose the members of his Cabinet, and only in extraordinary circumstances should such a nomination be filibustered,” Collins said in February. “I oppose Senator Hagel’s nomination, but I cannot join in a filibuster to block each senator’s right to vote for or against him.”

The other senators targeted by the ads are New Hampshire Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen – a Republican and Democrat, respectively – and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. The ads are slated to run Tuesday and Wednesday at a cost of “low six figures,” according to representatives from the American Sustainable Business Council.


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@mainetoday.com

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