EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson resigns

The breaking news that’s burning up my Twitter feed right now is today’s announcement that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has announced her plans to resign.

A post on EcoWatch.com includes the above picture of Jackson and her statement on her resignation (and the picture above):

“I want to thank President Obama for the honor he bestowed on me and the confidence he placed in me four years ago this month when he announced my nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. At the time I spoke about the need to address climate change, but also said: ‘There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.’

“As the President said earlier this year when he addressed EPA’s employees, ‘You help make sure the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat are safe. You help protect the environment not just for our children but their children. And you keep us moving toward energy independence … We have made historic progress on all these fronts. So, I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference.”

Jackson, a chemical engineer, was the first African-American administrator of the EPA.

The Associated Press report on the resignation includes reactions, pro and con, to the announcement, and gives more background on Jackson’s turbulent four years at the EPA and her accomplishments there.

Environmental leaders such as Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, provided praise, but warned about the challenges ahead for Jackson’s successor.

“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,” Beinecke said

California Sen. Barbara Boxer also had high praise for Jackson in a statement released from her office:

“America’s families, including some who never knew Lisa during her four years as EPA Administrator, will benefit from her commitment to protecting our air and water for many years to come. . . . Lisa’s ability to develop strong working relationships with Congressional colleagues on both sides of the aisle — despite a very partisan atmosphere — made her a very effective advocate for the environment and public health.”

Industry groups, such as the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, were more critical.

“Agency rules have been used as blunt attempts to marginalize coal and other solid fossil fuels and to make motor fuels more costly at the expense of industrial jobs, energy security, and economic recovery,” said Scott Segal, the group’s director. “The record of the agency over the same period in overestimating benefits to major rules has not assisted the public in determining whether these rules have been worth it.”

No reason has been given for Jackson’s decision, but most articles, such as a piece on Politico, point to her conflicts with congressional Republicans and industry groups over issues such as the Keystone XL pipeline and tough toxic emissions standards for power plants.

The exact day of Jackson’s departure has not been announced, but she has said she will stay through President Obama’s State of the Union address in January.