Lisa Jackson has announced that she is resigning next month as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As one of President Barack Obama's earliest appointments, Jackson promised to make science "the backbone" of the regulatory agency's work. But like most EPA heads, Jackson encountered some stiff political headwinds during her 4-year tenure. Congress rejected EPA's plans for developing a "cap-and-trade" regulatory system curbing emissions of global warming gases, and the White House "rejected or scaled back a number of proposed new regulations" due to concerns about costs and economic impacts, noted The New York Times' John Broder.
Jackson, who was trained as chemical engineer, also achieved some notable successes. One of the biggest was successfully defending an EPA "finding" that carbon dioxide and five other global warming gases endanger public health, and so can be regulated under the federal Clean Air Act. That, she told Broder, was one of her most important accomplishments.
Jackson says that she will leave her post after Obama's annual State of the Union speech in late January.
Here is Jackson's resignation statement:
I want to thank President Obama for the honor he bestowed on me and the confidence he placed in me four years ago this month when he announced my nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. At the time 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." As the President said earlier this year when he addressed EPA's employees, "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." So, I will leave the 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.
Here is Obama's statement on Jackson's departure:
Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson has shown an unwavering commitment to the health of our families and our 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. Lisa has been an important part of my team, and I want to thank her for her service in my Administration and her tireless efforts to benefit the American people. I wish her all the best wherever her future takes her.