Jackson resigns as EPA chairman

Jeremy Carroll

Published: January 9, 2013 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Public Policy, Sustainability

WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 11:25 a.m. ET) — Lisa Jackson, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who had become a frequent target of Republican and various industry attacks, is stepping down this month.

Jackson will end her four-year term as the nation’s top environmental officer sometime around President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. In a short statement announcing her departure, Jackson thanked Obama for nominating her and having the confidence in her to do the job.

“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 wrote in the statement.

Obama said Jackson had an unwavering commitment to the health of American families and children.

“Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution,” Obama said in a statement.

He called her an important part of his team.

Jackson, 50, spent a total of 20 years with the EPA, 16 of them early in her career. She also worked for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for six years.

The move was not a complete surprise as cabinet members and top political appointees often do not serve more than one presidential term. Carol Browner served all eight years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the longest tenure of an EPA administrator. No other EPA administrator has served more than four years. Both George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan had three EPA administrators during their eight years in office.

Reaction to Jackson’s departure was deeply partisan, with those on the left side of the aisle praising her and those on the right calling for a more moderate choice in a successor.

“Secretary Jackson played the environmental ‘bad cop’ to President Obama’s more moderate ‘good cop,’ but the result of their tag-team effort has been a huge expansion of the EPA’s power,” said S.T. Karnick, director of research at the Hartland Institute, a libertarian think tank, in a statement.

He said appointing another EPA head like Jackson could drive the economy downward with more regulations that threaten jobs.

David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, said Jackson was a tireless advocate for a better, cleaner environment, praising some of her various initiatives, including instituting greenhouse gas emission regulations.

“Her steadfast leadership elevated vitally important issues like climate change by issuing the proposed Carbon Pollution Standard, limiting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from future power plants,” he said. “She was key in negotiating the highest vehicle fuel economy standards in a generation.”

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said Jackson was a strong advocate for clean air, clean water, a stable climate and public health, all the face of detractors.

“With her leadership, our country has made a big down payment on its goals to reduce carbon pollution,” he said in a statement. “Millions of Americans will breathe easier and have access to safe, clean water.”

One of Jackson’s earliest issues was coal ash, as a massive coal ash spill in Tennessee occurred just months before she took office. EPA has been slow to address the issue, delaying various rulemaking on the issue, including deeming coal ash as a hazardous substance if it is not being reused.

That proposal had coal ash recyclers worried, saying the designation of coal ash being a Subtitle C substance would give it a stigma, making a secondary market for the material tough.

Republican lawmakers introduced legislation to force EPA to regulate the substance under Subtitle D and environmental groups have sued EPA for delaying final ruling on the issue. Ultimately, the issue will likely be decided in 2013, after Jackson’s replacement is named.

“I hope this resignation indicates that the administration is going to moderate its position regarding the use of coal, but only time will tell,” said U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., said in a statement.


Comments

Jackson resigns as EPA chairman

Jeremy Carroll

Published: January 9, 2013 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

DC banning PS foam containers

July 30, 2014 2:34 pm ET

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gra signed into law on July 29 a bill that will ban polystyrene foam food and drink containers from the District.    More

Image

Pressure is on to replace aging gas pipes

July 30, 2014 2:47 pm ET

Polyethylene is the plastic replacement material of choice for modernizing the natural gas distribution system — so much so some are concerned...    More

Image

Sainsbury, Schoeller Allibert to recycle food handling crates

July 30, 2014 1:37 pm ET

British retail group Sainsbury's has contracted Dutch recycler Schoeller Allibert BV to reprocess all of its old food crates back into food-grade...    More

Image

Vinyl siding's lead slips, but industry pushing back

July 29, 2014 2:04 pm ET

Vinyl siding continues to be the top cladding choice for home builders and remodelers but fiber cement is gaining ground — at an alarming rate...    More

Image

One51 adding injection molder Straight to its bin molding portfolio

July 29, 2014 10:12 am ET

Dublin-based One51 plc has had its purchase of British trash bin maker Straight plc cleared by the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events