US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced that she will step down shortly after US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in January.
Jackson noted that when Obama nominated her to lead EPA in December 2008, “I spoke about the need to address climate change, but also said: ‘There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.’”
When Obama addressed EPA employees earlier this year, she continued, he told them, “You help make sure the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are safe. You help protect the environment not just for our children but their children. And you keep us moving toward energy independence…. We have made historic progress on all these fronts.”
Jackson’s Dec. 27 statement concluded, “So I will leave EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family, and new opportunities to make a difference.”
She leaves a mixed legacy at the federal environmental regulator. Oil and gas producers questioned methods in the agency’s attempts to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Refiners, automakers, and engine manufacturers criticized its effort to raise the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline without fully addressing possible adverse equipment impacts.
Environmental organizations, meanwhile, applauded her actions. “In her 4 years as EPA administrator, [Jackson] has been a steadfast advocate for clean air, clean water, a stable climate, and public health—often in the face of very vocal and forceful detractors,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said on Dec. 27.
“With her leadership, our country has made a big down payment on its goals to reduce carbon pollution,” Brune maintained.