Janet McCabe

IU McKinney School of Law IUPUI

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Areas of Expertise

Environmental law and policy, Clean Air Act, climate change policy and law, air quality, state environmental programs.

Expert Bio

Janet McCabe is director of the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University and a professor of practice at the IU McKinney School of Law. On Jan. 15, 2021, she was named as deputy director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Biden administration.

Previously, from July 2013 to January 2017, she served as acting assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA, and from 2009 to 2013 as principal deputy in that office.

McCabe has also been air director at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and held other environmental policy and management positions at IDEM and in Massachusetts.

Expert Videos

[The following text appears on screen: “What is your area of expertise?”] [Video: A woman appears on screen with the following text: “Janet McCabe, Assistant Director, Environmental Resilience Institute at IU”] [McCabe speaks: “I've spent most of my life in government, actually, at the state and federal levels doing air pollution control and, more lately, climate change work. I worked at the United States Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration, and it was a great honor to actually be nominated by the president to be the head of the Office of Air and Radiation for the U.S. EPA.”] [The following text appears on screen: “How would you explain this work to the average person?”] [McCabe speaks: “Back in the '60s and '70s, the country developed an increasing awareness of the need to address pollution -- that it had adverse impacts, illness and environmental damage. And so, over the years, there have grown up statutes -- federal statutes, state statutes -- to try to minimize those as much as possible. Those are the kinds of things that I've been working on from the state and the federal level.”] [The following text appears on screen: “What are some ‘hot topics’ in your field?”] [McCabe speaks: “Even more important now, and even more compelling, I think, is the growing awareness that our climate is changing. Are we ready for that, and the implications that that's going to have for public health? But also for agriculture, for our parks, for our roadways -- all of those sorts of things that are affected by heat. We need to focus on both making ourselves ready and resilient -- is Indiana going to be resilient in the face of these weather changes? -- and what can we do to try to mitigate, to minimize the impacts that those changes are going to have on our communities.”] [The following text appears on screen: “What can policymakers do to address these issues?”] [McCabe speaks: “The two biggest contributors of greenhouse gases, in our country, are transportation and fossil-fired power generation. And they're each about equal. And so our cars need to get cleaner. They are getting cleaner, but they need to get a lot cleaner, faster. The other thing we need to focus on is cleaner energy. So solar energy, wind energy, which has caught up with fossil energy, in terms of competitive pricing. We're not going to all be on solar and wind tomorrow. But, again, this is a transition. Coal, in particular, is getting less competitive. It's expensive to get coal out of the ground. And it's expensive to run coal-fired power plants.”] [The following text appears on screen: “What has been the impact of climate change in Indiana?”] [McCabe speaks: “So I know a lot of times, people think of this as a coastal issue, because they see a lot of stuff on the news about storms and hurricanes and high tides and coastal erosion on the coasts. But climate change is affecting the middle of the country as well. We're having hotter summers; that's affecting agriculture. We're having more storms, and more severe storms. The precipitation patterns in the state are shifting so that we get more and more extreme precipitation in the spring, and less in the summer and fall. There's less snow, even though in a given year it might not seem like that -- and that's the difference between weather and climate.”] [The following text appears on screen: “What is IU’s Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative?”] [McCabe speaks: “The Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge was announced by President McRobbie a couple of years ago in recognition of the fact that Indiana needs to be prepared for these environmental changes that are happening: increased heat, increased flooding, changes to our economy and that sort of thing. And it was the idea of about a dozen faculty at Bloomington and IUPUI campuses who work in the area of climate change and environmental resilience. And it includes three elements. One is providing accurate predictions to Indiana; if we don't what's coming, we can't plan for it. The second is to provide for a feasible solutions; so how do we prepare ourselves? How do we mitigate the impacts that we're going to be seeing? And the third is effective communication. So people need to hear this information, and they need to hear it in a way that speaks to them.”] [The following text appears on screen: “What is the Environmental Resilience Institute at IU?”] [McCabe speaks: “One of the creations of the Grand Challenge is the Environmental Resilience Institute, which is both a physical place on campus in Bloomington, but even more than that it is a way of thinking and a way of researchers and faculty and others at IU working across disciplines, across schools, across campuses, and with partners all around the state to develop accurate predictions, feasible solutions and effectively communicate about this.”] [Video: The IU logo appears on the screen, along with the following text: “Indiana University. Fulfilling the Promise. iu.edu”]
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Additional Information

Environmental Resilience Institute: https://eri.iu.edu/index.html

CleanLaw podcast, "Joe and Janet take down the MATS rollback": https://soundcloud.com/user-995691545/joe-and-janet-take-down-the-mats-rollback

Updated on: January 15, 2021