Senate confirms Fox to lead EPA’s Office of Water

The Senate voted on Wednesday to confirm Radhika Fox as the new Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Her nomination was confirmed by a vote of 55-43.

Fox served as CEO of the nonprofit US Water Alliance since 2015 until she was nominated by President Joe Biden in January to lead the Office of Water. Prior to her role at the US Water Alliance, Fox directed policy and government affairs for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, was quoted in The Hill on Wednesday as remarking on the Senate floor in reference to Fox’s confirmation. Carper referenced Fox’s wide range of experience in the water sector with a number of organizations: “What those organizations have said — again and again — about Radhika Fox is that she is an exceptional leader who will work day and night to come up with practical solutions to our country’s serious water challenges. Moreover, Ms. Fox will make sure everyone’s point of view is heard and taken into account when EPA acts to protect our country’s precious water resources,” Carper said.

Fox has more than 20 years of experience in developing policies, programs and issue-based advocacy campaigns. In addition to her role as US Water Alliance CEO, Fox also led the Value of Water Coalition, the program administered by the Alliance that has spearheaded the popular Imagine A Day Without Water advocacy campaign.

Earlier in her career Fox served as the federal policy director at PolicyLink, where she coordinated the organization’s policy on a wide range of issues, including infrastructure investment, transportation, sustainable communities, economic inclusion and workforce development. Fox holds a B.A. from Columbia University and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was a HUD Community Development Fellow.

The Hill also reported that seven Senate Republicans crossed the aisle and voted in favor of Fox’s confirmation. Not included in those, however, was ranking EPW Committee member Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). While acknowledging Fox’s qualifications during a Senate panel in May, Capito has expressed concern that Fox would not “commit to maintaining the navigable waters protection rule issued in 2020” and “state that the 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule was overreaching.”

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