Who Will Succeed Jackson as EPA Head?

After four years in office, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said on Thursday that she will step down after President Obama’s State of the Union address in January, inviting speculation about who will be named as her successor.

Jackson’s four-year tenure at the agency was busy and productive, but it also was controversial. Since Jackson was confirmed to head EPA in 2009, the agency has undertaken a number of significant and divisive measures, including setting new standards to clean up mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants, and setting new standards to limit fine particle soot in the air. EPA played a lead role in establishing new fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas standards for motor vehicles. In 2009, the agency reversed findings made under the Bush administration, declaring that climate change poses a real threat to public health and the environment.

This active administrative role made her a target for lawmakers and pundits who see EPA regulations as symptomatic of the Obama administration’s government overreach, but her leadership did score points within the environmental community, which on Thursday lamented her imminent departure.

“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.  “Lisa leaves giant shoes to fill.”

As her exit didn’t come as too much of a surprise to the environmental community, they have long been speculating about whom Obama will choose as her successor.

Read more at National Journal. By Olga Belogolova.

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