Outgoing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters from the news agency Reuters in an article published Monday that if she had a regret while in office it was her relationship with people in agriculture and rural America. Jackson said the failure to relate to rural America led to a lot of rumors and fictitious views that were spread around the country.
"If I were starting again, I would from day one make a much stronger effort to do personal outreach in rural America," Jackson told Reuters. "Had I known that these myths about everything from cow flatulence to spilled milk could be seen as 'The EPA is coming to get you," I would have spent more time trying to inoculate against that."
Even before Jackson entered office, the outgoing Bush administration had generated lot of problems with a "cow tax" myth that stemmed from USDA in 2008 responding to a request for information from EPA on the prospect of regulating carbon.
Everything went downhill from there.
EPA was sued by groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation over the Chesapeake Bay pollution program, a case that remains unsettled.
Jackson leaves her office Feb. 14. In the Reuters piece, Jackson also said she believes President Barack Obama is serious about addressing the issue of climate change, though she was also caught off guard by the president's comments in his inauguration.
The full Reuters article can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
While there is uncertainty about who will replace Jackson, ag groups should also be concerned about who replaces Larry Elworth, who was Jackson's top agricultural advisor at EPA. Elworth, who left in December, also was the main liaison between the agency and agricultural groups. It's unclear who would be replacing Elworth. A lot of ag people in DC are waiting to see who might step into that role at the agency.
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