Urban Fold

Lisa Jackson Leaves Behind Mixed Legacy at EPA

This week Lisa Jackson made public her decision to step down as administrator of the EPA. Despite many hard-fought victories, Jackson's tenure is also associated with a lack of significant action to address climate change.

While Juliet Eilperin with The Washington Post outlined "[t]he slew of rules the EPA enacted over the past four years included the first greenhouse-gas standards for vehicles, cuts in mercury and other toxic pollution from power plants and a tighter limit on soot," and the American Planning Association praised her work to "establish an interagency partnership on sustainable communities with HUD and DOT," John M. Broder tied Jackson to the failure of the Obama administration to fulfill the "high hopes of sweeping action to address climate change and other environmental ills." 

In addition to fending off attacks from industry and Republicans in Congress, at times it appeared as thought the EPA and the White House were not on the same page, as when President Obama rejected "a proposed new standard for ozone pollution that Ms. Jackson sought in the summer of 2011."

And though Eilperin contends that Jackson "was a hero to the environmental community," Broder notes that "Ms. Jackson’s departure comes as many in the environmental movement are questioning Mr. Obama’s commitment to dealing with climate change and other environmental problems."

"Asked what she considered most important in her tenure, Ms. Jackson mentioned the endangerment finding, because it was the first time that the federal government began to address climate change. She also said that, although it received little notice during her tenure, she was proud of her role in expanding the environmental agenda to include voices that have been little heard, including low-income communities, native Alaskans and American Indian tribes."

Full Story: E.P.A. Chief to Step Down, With Climate Still Low Priority


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