EPA leader an­nounces she is step­ping down

Her four-year ten­ure was rife with op­po­si­tion from in­dus­try and GOP.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Byjohn M. Broder

Lisa P. Jack­son is step­ping down as ad­min­is­tra­tor of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency af­ter a four-year ten­ure that be­gan with high hopes of sweep­ing ac­tion to ad­dress cli­mate change and other en­vi­ron­men­tal ills but ended with a se­ries of rear-guard ac­tions to de­fend the agency against chal­lenges from in­dus­try, Repub­li­cans in Congress and, at times, the Obama White House.

Jack­son, 50, told Pres­i­dent Barack Obama shortly af­ter his re-elec­tion in Novem­ber that she wanted to leave the ad­min­is­tra­tion early next year. She in­formed the EPA staff of her de­ci­sion Thurs­day morn­ing and is­sued a brief state­ment say­ing that she was con­fi­dent “the ship is sail­ing in the right di­rec­tion.”

She has not said what she in­tends to do af­ter leav­ing government, and no suc­ces­sor was im­me­di­ately named, although it is ex­pected that Robert Per­ci­asepe, the EPA deputy ad­min­is­tra­tor, will take over at least tem­po­rar­ily.

Jack­son’s de­par­ture comes as many in the en­vi­ron­men­tal move­ment are ques­tion­ing Obama’s com­mit­ment to deal­ing with cli­mate change and other en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems. Af­ter his re­elec­tion, and a cam­paign in which global warm­ing was barely men­tioned by ei­ther can­di­date, Obama said his first pri­or­ity would be jobs and the econ­omy and that he in­tended to fos­ter only a “con­ver­sa­tion” on cli­mate change in the coming months.

That am­biva­lence is a far cry from the hopes that ac­com­pa­nied his early months in of­fice, when he iden­ti­fied cli­mate change as one of hu­man­ity’s defin­ing chal­lenges. Obama put the White House’s full lob­by­ing power be­hind a House cap-and-trade bill that would have lim­ited cli­mate-al­ter­ing emis­sions and brought pro­found changes in how the na­tion pro­duces and con­sumes en­ergy.

But af­ter the ef­fort stalled in the Se­nate, the ad­min­is­tra­tion aban­doned broad-scale cli­mate change ef­forts, in­stead fo­cus­ing on smaller reg­u­la­tory ac­tions.

White House and EPA of­fi­cials said Jack­son’s de­ci­sion to leave the government was her own and the tim­ing had been ne­go­ti­ated with the White House.


EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Lisa Jack­son tes­ti­fied be­fore hos­tile House com­mit­tees dozens of times.

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