As we celebrate Earth Day this week, it’s worth noting the critical role the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has played since the first Earth Day in 1970.

Cleaning up Maine’s polluted rivers, getting lead out of gasoline and reducing toxic mercury pollution are just three of the great strides we have made to improve the environment and people’s health, thanks to the EPA.

President Barack Obama has nominated Gina McCarthy to lead the EPA as it continues its critical work. McCarthy has a stellar record of winning real results for our environment and public health — under both Republican and Democratic administrations — and she’s won praise from environmentalists and industry leaders alike.

This Earth Day, I urge the Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to support McCarthy’s nomination, so she can get to work continuing EPA’s strong record of tackling our most urgent environmental and public health challenges.

Emily Figdor, director

Environment Maine

Portland