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US EPA's McCarthy mum on possibility of new job

WASHINGTON -- Gina McCarthy, said to be U.S. President Barack Obama's choice as the nation's top environmental regulator, avoided questions about a potential promotion on Thursday but said states will play a key role in shaping federal regulations at an energy and climate policy forum.

McCarthy, assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation since 2009, was tightlipped about whether Obama will nominate her as the EPA's next administrator.

Sources told Reuters on Wednesday that Obama would nominate the Boston native as early as this week, with a formal announcement more likely next week.

Thursday's appearance was the first public event for McCarthy, 58, since speculation arose that she will replace Lisa Jackson, the EPA administrator who stepped down this month, as the face of Obama's fresh push to fight climate change.

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