EPA Chief Jackson resigns

Lisa Jackson, the Environmental Protection Agency Chief under President Barack Obama, is stepping down in the beginning of President Obama’s second term. Jackson, a Chemical Engineer and first black administrator of the EPA, has not given much of a reason for her resignation other than that she feels it is time for her to move on with her life and pursue other goals. The decision to resign makes sense after being a part of numerous hot button issues including but not limited to brawls over global warming, controls on coal-fired plants, and the Keystone XL oil pipeline

Jackson has been caught in a tough back-and-forth pull between the environmental goals of the Obama administration and the attempts at economic growth presented by the Republican Party. While the administration presented solutions to environmental issues, many members of the Republican Party continued to remind her of the need for American companies to compete internationally and how many of the solutions presented by the Obama administration put tremendous strain on the job market and greatly increased the level of difficulty for companies to successfully compete in the global economy.

Jackson is said to have had some major victories over the past few years. One such victory would be the administration’s ruling on fuel efficiency of vehicles. The administration placed a requirement that the fuel efficiency of all cars and light trucks must be doubled. This ruling will take effect over a 13 year period of time at the end of which all new vehicles will be required to average 54.5 mpg, which is a tremendous increase from the 28.6 mpg average around when the ruling was made.

While many might praise Jackson for her continued push for environmental protection, others would be quick to point out that she was rather ineffective in certain areas of expectation over the previous four years and leaves much left undone. For example, she was unable to provide an economically friendly contribution to the global warming discussion. Specifically, in 2009, the effort to reduce global warming emissions, led by the Democratic Party, failed in the Senate when the state of the economy was brought into the conversation as a main priority.

Additionally, one of the administrations leading attempts to regulate clean air was quickly tossed aside when Republican lawmakers continually brought up the poor position this would put many businesses in by making it far more difficult for companies to create jobs. Also, in response to a massive spill in Tennessee, Jackson made a vow to improve the control of toxic coal ash. However, after more than four years, Jackson is stepping down with this task left unfinished.

Jackson has received much opposition over the past four years as EPA Chief. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, made statements saying that Jackson should get her own parking spot at the Capitol because he planned to bring her in so frequently for questioning. Additionally, Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney even called for Jackson’s firing during the Republican Primary.

Despite the opposition and tasks left undone, President Obama continues to praise Jackson and her dedication and service as EPA Chief saying that she was an important member of his team. It is still unclear who will replace Jackson in the next term, however, a few names have been mentioned.

Bob Perciasepe, the Deputy Administrator for the EPA, and Gina McCarthy, the head of the agency’s air radiation office are two of the leading candidates for the position of EPA Chief. Jackson has said on several occasions that Perciasepe would be well equipped for the role. Other potential candidates include Mary D. Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, and Kathleen McGinty, who was head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Bill Clinton.

In response to Jackson’s resignation, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said that he would like to see a nominee that is more business friendly. He said that he would be working with colleagues to make sure that the new EPA Chief would be able to put sound scientific standards above political ideology and understand the crushing effect that the EPA can have on businesses if an abundance of regulations are enforced.