AG Hopeful as EPA Chief Exits

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson speaks at the announcement of an electronics recycling initiative with Dell Computer and others in Austin on July 20, 2011.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson speaks at the announcement of an electronics recycling initiative with Dell Computer and others in Austin on July 20, 2011.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has waged a vociferous legal battle with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its regulation of industries and pollution, said he is hopeful for change at the EPA with the departure of its leader, Lisa Jackson.

Jackson, whom President Obama appointed in 2009, announced plans Thursday to step down from the position after the president's annual State of the Union address in January. She said she was ready for "new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference."

Under Jackson's leadership, the EPA and Texas have had a litigious relationship. Abbott has filed at least a half-dozen lawsuits against the agency over issues including air pollution regulations, federal overtake of state permitting processes, greenhouse gas rules.

"It's been a struggle dealing with the overreaching, agenda-driven Jackson-led EPA," Abbott said in a statement. "Hopefully the new administrator will take jobs and the economy into consideration. Texas will continue to take legal action if the new Administrator exceeds the bounds of the law.”

Gov. Rick Perry, who has also regularly chastised the EPA's actions under Jackson, did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Others, though, were less cheerful about the news of Jackson's departure. Al Armendariz, who headed the EPA's Dallas-based Region 6 office for the first three years of President Obama's administration, took to Twitter to defend and celebrate his former boss. "Fantastic public servant. Tireless and smart leader," tweeted Armendariz, now of the Sierra Club's Austin office.

Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director in Washington, D.C., thanked Jackson for her work leading the EPA.

"Millions of Americans will breathe easier and have access to safe, clean water," he said in a statement.

 

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