Lisa Jackson, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 2009, will be stepping down in January following President Obama’s State of the Union address. She did not give any reason for her pending resignation other than to spend more time with her family and to seek new opportunities. President Obama has not nominated a new administrator yet, but her deputy administrator, Robert Perciasepe, has been mentioned as a possible successor.
Jackson’s most significant action as EPA administrator has been drafting new clean air regulations, including the country’s first regulations on greenhouse gases in response to climate change concerns. She faced significant criticism from industry and congressional Republicans for attempting to impose greenhouse-gas regulations. She and the White House were unable to win congressional support for broad-based climate-change legislation, which led to the EPA drafting its own regulations. Those regulations were upheld by the D.C. Circuit in June 2012. Jackson also oversaw new regulations governing mercury emissions from industrial sites and negotiated stricter fuel-efficiency standards with the automobile industry.
Jackson’s successor will oversee the implementation of a number of greenhouse-gas-emissions regulations that have yet to be implemented, including performance standards for existing power plants and refineries, final rules for cooling water used by power plants, and rules for disposal of ash from coal-fired generating plants. The next EPA administrator will also likely work on issues related to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, including the completion of a long-term study on fracking’s effects on drinking water.