EPA Administrator Jackson announces resignation

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the Obama administration's chief environmental watchdog, is stepping down after a nearly four years marked by high-profile brawls over global warming pollution, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, new controls on coal-fired plants and several other hot-button issues that affect the nation's economy and people's health.
Associated Press
Dec 28, 2012


Jackson constantly found herself caught between administration pledges to solve thorny environmental problems and steady resistance from Republicans and industrial groups who complained that the agency's rules destroyed jobs and made it harder for American companies to compete internationally.

The GOP chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, said last year that Jackson would need her own parking spot at the Capitol because he planned to bring her in so frequently for questioning. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney called for her firing, a stance that had little downside during the GOP primary.

Jackson, 50, the agency's first black administrator and a chemical engineer, did not point to any particular reason for her departure. Historically, Cabinet members looking to move on will leave at the beginning of a president's second term.

Despite the opposition, which former EPA chiefs have said is the worst they have seen against the agency, Jackson still managed to take significant steps that will improve air quality and begin to curb global warming.

"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," she said in a statement. Jackson will leave sometime after President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address, typically in late January.

In a separate statement, Obama said Jackson has been "an important part of my team." He thanked her for serving and praised her "unwavering commitment" to the public's health.

"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," he said.

Environmental activist groups and other supporters lauded Jackson for the changes she was able to make, but industry representatives said some may have come at an economic cost. Groups also noted that she leaves a large, unfinished agenda.

"There has been no fiercer champion of our health and our environment than Lisa Jackson, and every American is better off today than when she took office nearly four years ago," said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. But she noted that Jackson's successor will inherit an unfinished agenda, including the need to issue new health protections against carbon pollution from existing power plants.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate's subcommittee on clean air, called Jackson's tenure a "breath of fresh air" and credited her for setting historic fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, and for finalizing clean air standards.

But Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, said Jackson presided over some of the most expensive environmental rules in EPA history.

"Agency rules have been used as blunt attempts to marginalize coal and other solid fossil fuels and to make motor fuels more costly at the expense of industrial jobs, energy security, and economic recovery," Segal said. "The record of the agency over the same period in overestimating benefits to major rules has not assisted the public in determining whether these rules have been worth it."

Other environmental groups, however, praised Jackson's clean air efforts.

"Notwithstanding the difficult economic and political challenges EPA faced, her agency was directly responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of Americans and improving the health of millions throughout the country," said S. William Becker of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. "She will be sorely missed."

Larry Schweiger, head of the National Wildlife Federation, cited her climate change work and efforts to reduce carbon pollution.

Environmental groups had high expectations for the Obama administration after eight years of President George W. Bush, a Texas oilman who rebuffed agency scientists and refused act on climate change. Jackson came into office promising a more active EPA.

But she soon learned that changes would not occur as quickly as she had hoped. Jackson watched as a Democratic-led effort to reduce global warming emissions passed the House in 2009 but was then abandoned by the Senate as economic concerns became the priority. The concept behind the bill, referred to as cap-and-trade, would have established a system where power companies bought and sold pollution rights.

"That's a revolutionary message for our country," Jackson said at a Paris conference shortly after accepting the job.

Jackson experienced another big setback last year when the administration scrubbed a clean-air regulation aimed at reducing health-threatening smog. Republican lawmakers had been hammering the president over the proposed rule, accusing him of making it harder for companies to create jobs.

She also vowed to better control toxic coal ash after a massive spill in Tennessee, but that regulation has yet to be finalized more than four years after the spill.

Jackson had some victories, too. During her tenure, the administration finalized a new rule doubling fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks. The requirements will be phased in over 13 years and eventually require all new vehicles to average 54.5 mpg, up from 28.6 mpg at the end of last year.

She shepherded another rule that forces power plants to control mercury and other toxic pollutants for the first time. Previously, the nation's coal- and oil-fired power plants had been allowed to run without addressing their full environmental and public health costs.

Jackson also helped persuade the administration to table the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought carbon-heavy tar sands oil from Canada to refineries in Texas.

House Republicans dedicated much of their time this past election year trying to rein in the EPA. They passed a bill seeking to thwart regulation of the coal industry and quash the stricter fuel efficiency standards. In the end, though, the bill made no headway in the Senate. It served mostly as election-year fodder that appeared to have little impact on the presidential race.




Obviously as the overpaid head of the Employment Prevention Agency (EPA), Ms. Jackson has destroyed enough American business and jobs and it's time to reek havoc elsewhere.


Maybe she is teaming up with Hillary .... the new Cagney & Lacey show!

2cents's picture


She is also a product of affirmative action!


Really CONtango,Is your comment intended as satire? ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY? wreak (rk)
tr.v. wreaked, wreak·ing, wreaks
1. To inflict (vengeance or punishment) upon a person.
2. To express or gratify (anger, malevolence, or resentment); vent.
3. To bring about; cause: wreak havoc.
4. Archaic To take vengeance for; avenge.


I find it curious that this article does not mention a rather important fact about this resignation. It involves the use of at least one alias email account that she has admitted to using for official business.
Come on Register editors! I wonder if the excuse for the use of this article is contractual? I can't image another good reason to publishing this partisan drivel.

2cents's picture

(about this resignation)

In this administration there is no resignation or chance of being let go. They are just reasigned with the same pay...

Licorice Schtick

Whether this trumped-up "scandal" mountain is really a molehill or nothing at all, the comments should make it obvious that it's really about hate for the EPA and anyone who wants it to actually carry out its statutory duties.

The Economy and The People benefit from cleaner water and cleaner air, but polluters hate anything and everything that would interfere with their polluting for profit.

Greedy selfish people should NEVER be in charge.


And since an EPA secretary in a Republican administration would obviously be a "Greedy selfish" person and had used a private email for for official correspondence, would you then see a problem with it?


What? No answer Licorice Schtick?

Dr. Information

you wont get an answer maggi so just move on. Liberals are like rats. Poke their head in, make a squeak and off they go. To bad they leave crap behind everywhere they go.

Liberal mindset....my rich guy isn't greedy, he's doing his job. 2 years later a Republican takes over their guys position and they flip flop.......hes a rich greedy guy that has to go.

You can't reason with the left.

John Harville

Since the report is out about Benghazi and heads have rolled, maybe this can be your new focus? When are we calling for a Congressional investigation into Newtown and the fact all the first facts from law enforcement were wrong?


Heads DIDN'T roll (yet, anyway) for Benghazi. That's what the comment above was all about.

The four State Department personnel that resigned and/or were terminated because of Benghazi are (surprise!) still working at State. All made lateral moves, at least one involving a title change ONLY. Nice, eh? Meanwhile, Hillary STILL hasn't testified. I hear she's feeling better, though I'll bet she has another "problem" if testimony is rescheduled...

Licorice Schtick

"Benghazi" is just another fake scandal that's really just a political attack that was launched because Republicans don't have anything Real.

The REAL scandal is the corrupt, paid-off-by-big business Republican House of Representatives that hates a Government by the People and starves it everywhere possible, including by denying adequate funds for embassy security, and then hypocritically wailing when that security fails.

Dr. Information

Its amazing how anything that happens under Obamas watch is still the Republicans fault. Wow, you really can't reason or win with a liberal. They truly are just out of touch people.

I think what people fail to realize is how much progress has been made in our rivers and streams. Go back 50 years ago and research how bad the mississippi was, how bad the ohio river was. Regulations have worked, but most recently the EPA has gone overboard to keep people on the jobs. Without constant new regulations, you don't need as many EPA employee's and you know how the liberals hate seeing public/government jobs lost.


Michael Savage: "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder."


Just another fake scandal????? How many fakes does it take to make a real one???


A direct correlation can be made for the creation of the Employment Prevention Agency (EPA) in 1970 and the decline of heavy industry and manufacturing in the U.S.

The Big Dog's back

I'd much rather have rivers that catch fire, air that looks like a constant fog, Lakes with fish that look like something out of a sci-fi movie, more brownfields, more cancers, more asthma's, more birth defects. Ahh the good ole days ehh winnie.


so Big Dog as it pertains to the resignation of the EPA secretary, do you dismiss the admitted use of a private email account for official business? I can see no reason to have to hide the business of this nation from the people who pay the bills. What could be so Top Secret at the EPA?
Is this the price that needs to be paid to assure our environment is cared for to benefit all? Our officials need to violated laws and procedure to do their jobs effectively?

The Big Dog's back

Why do Repubs hate women? More specifically Black Women. 1st Susan Rice, now her. Seems to be a pattern.

2cents's picture

There he goes with the R thing again, Dog, not everyone thinks that way out of the box when the awake in the morning.


Disagreement does not equal hate. Investigation into possible unethical/illegal action does not equal hate. I have been disgusted by actions done by people who claim to be on the side I support. But that admission will be used as a weapon, instead of an avenue to discourse.

Dr. Information

@big, Kid, this has nothing to do with hating woman. Deflect some more little kid, you have a snowman to build outside don't you or didn't Obama buy you a snowsuit just yet.


Dog understand oldster has never read "Silent Spring."/ R.C. (His kids will have to pay)

2cents's picture

We will end up with Soylent Green from to many humans too!


Remember: Tuesday is Solylent Green day.

In my stock portfolio I'm long on the Solylent Corp. and Cyberdyne Systems. :)

2cents's picture


The EPA in the early days was doing a good thing, today they have gone way overboard and are destroying this country while the rest of the world laughs at us. There must be balance, EPA has no clue what that is just like Obama. My way or the highway!


Remember the little EPA snot-nosed Al Armendariz who was forced to resign?

"...a video surfaced showing Armendariz saying in 2010 that his methods for dealing with non-compliant oil and gas companies were 'like when the Romans conquered the villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into little villages in Turkish towns and they'd find the first five guys they saw and crucify them.'"

Agree that the EPA has gone waaaaay overboard. CO2 as a pollutant?

And then the Progs whine that all the U.S. manufacturing jobs went to China. Can't have it both ways.



The multimillionaire Susan Rice has investments in cos. that do business with Iran.

"The portfolio of embattled United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice includes investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in several energy companies known for doing business with Iran, according to financial disclosure forms."

The Obama Admin. would have been unable to defend her.


The Big Dog's back

darrell issa.
Yes, this is the guy who is the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. In his tenure in that position since January, he's gone after the NLRB on behalf of Boeing Corporation, taken aim at President Obama's re-election campaign, attacked the Obama administration and opened an investigation over improved CAFE standards, and obliged his NRA masters by attacking the ATF and Eric Holder for "Operation Fast and Furious".

If I were the IRS, and I read any of the articles Lee Fang has written about Issa, or this article in the New York Times, I think I would be opening audits on the tax-exempt family foundation, at the very least. Darrell Issa is seems to be another example of those who condemn what they do.


Who cares about Rep. Issa?

Racial discrimination had NOTHING to do with Ms. Rice's withdrawal of her name for Secy of State.

Not happy with Sen. Kerry?

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc. and Libel and defamation.


Spin it however you want. Multi-millionaire Amb. Rice holds hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of investments in cos. that deal with Iran - THE deal killer. QED

2cents's picture

All the high power dem/progressive dictators are hypocrite trash in my eyes.



Crooks and Liars, give me a break!!! I know now where porch puppy gets thy term right wingnut from the piece of trash he is citing as gospel!!!!

Dr. Information

No different than the puppy citing moveon.org. lol. Might as well call in ACORN as his spokesperson. I got a good site for you Little Puppy.....Odoyle Rules.com

The Big Dog's back

Election's over. Your ideas lost. Move on.

Dr. Information

You are right so stop blaming Bush. Boooyaaaaaa!!!!!!


"Oliver Stone to RT: ‘US has become an Orwellian state’":