EPA Head Sailing into the Sunset
On Thursday, December 27, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced she would be stepping down after the president's State of the Union address in January, saying that she "will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction." Ms. Jackson has served as EPA administrator for the last four years -- a tumultuous and active time for EPA. During her tenure, she indicated that her top priority would be addressing climate change. However, her proposals and regulatory efforts extended far beyond climate change. She was often both lauded and criticized for her efforts, but no one can argue that she was not zealous in her pursuits.
Under her leadership, EPA expanded its efforts to regulate all aspects of air, water, and emissions, including new air quality standards, new water use restrictions, and new efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Both the president and environmental groups welcomed her hard-nosed approach to what the president termed her efforts at "protect[ing] the environment not just for our children but their children."
Industry groups, however, expressed concern throughout her tenure that EPA was overzealous in its regulations, and that they did not use a balanced approach to understand both the costs and benefits of regulating industry. EPA still faces several court challenges for its regulatory proposals, most notably for greenhouse gas emission standards.
Administrator Jackson's replacement has not yet been announced, but several names have been mentioned as possible successors, including EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe; Assistant Administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy; and, California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols.