Ag Policy Blog

EPA's Jackson Draws Praise, Criticism

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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During her four-year tenure EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and various agriculture interest groups and members of Congress have been at odds about whether EPA is expanding its reach onto U.S. farms.

Reaction to her resignation Thursday came from U.S. ethanol interest groups, administration officials, a U.S. senator and others.

A blog at,…, lists several top candidates to replace Jackson. That includes Bob Perciasepe, current deputy EPA administrator; Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board; Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's office of air and radiation; Daniel Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; and Kathleen McGinty, former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Some ag groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation have challenged EPA in court. The AFBF sued the agency for its efforts to set total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs, in the Chesapeake Bay.

Don Parrish, senior director of regulatory relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation told DTN, "It would be hard to find one going into the job that knew/knows less about agriculture than Jackson -– that is for sure."

National Corn Growers Association Chairman and Auburn, Ill. farmer Garry Niemeyer praised Jackson for her efforts to expand the use of biofuels.

"Administrator Jackson worked with NCGA to support the ethanol industry and promote science-based regulations during her tenure," he said in a statement.

"Upon the announcement of her departure, we thank her for the action she took on behalf of the administration to advance E15, support the RFS and for her willingness to work with America's farmers. We hope to continue working in this cooperative, productive manner with her successor."

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., was complimentary of Jackson…, although he has been one of the most vocal critics of the idea of man-caused climate change and of EPA's approach to regulating greenhouse gases.

"Lisa Jackson and I disagreed on many issues and regulations while she headed the EPA," Inhofe said in a statement. "However, I have always appreciated her receptivity to my concerns, her accessibility and her honesty. She was one of the few at the EPA that was honest with me.

"I truly wish her the best and thank her for her service in state and federal government. This provides President Obama with an opportunity to appoint an EPA administrator who appreciates the needs of our economy."

U.S. ethanol industry groups offered praise for Jackson's work on defending the Renewable Fuels Standard and in helping to bring E15 to market.

Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis offered the following statement:

"Administrator Jackson has been a dedicated advocate for the renewable fuels industry and her work to reduce our nation's addiction to foreign oil, while providing cleaner air and a better environment, should be commended.

"As administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, she should be applauded for all she has done to advance biofuels and a cleaner, better environment. Growth Energy wishes her well and thanks her for her tireless work during her time at the EPA."

Renewable Fuels Association President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said in a statement, "Administrator Jackson put into action the Obama administration's commitment to ethanol and other biofuels. During her tenure, she cleared the way for E15 giving consumers more choice and savings at the gas pump and she protected the progress that has been made in reducing our dependence of foreign oil by recognizing the importance and inherent flexibility of the RFS.

"The ethanol industry thanks her for her service and looks forward to working with her successor to continue the growth of America's domestic renewable fuels industry."

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack lauded Jackson's efforts in reaching out to U.S. farmers.

"Lisa Jackson has served our country well as she balanced improving the environment and the health of the American people - while ensuring our country's economic competitiveness - because they are intrinsically linked," Vilsack said in a statement.

"Throughout her tenure, she listened to stakeholders, including farmers and ranchers, and took their concerns into account while considering policies that impacted rural America. She was a friend to me and to those who live and work in rural America and her leadership will be missed."

During the past four years Republicans in the House of Representatives grilled Jackson in open testimony before Congress about EPA's work. In particular, Republicans contended that expanded EPA regulations were a burden to the economy, and the House made legislative attempts to reign in the agency.

In a written statement Jackson said she was pleased with the direction EPA has taken.

"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,'" she said.

"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."

The president offered a brief statement regarding Jackson's resignation, but said nothing about who he would appoint to the post:

"Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution."

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