Friday, December 28, 2012

Lisa Jackson Resigns as EPA Administrator

As comes as no surprise to anyone, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has announced that she will resign her post. While not giving an exact date, it is widely expected to be shortly after President Obama is sworn in for his second term and as late as his State of the Union address. Jackson did not indicate any particular position she had lined up but likely there are several options both in Washington DC and in her home state of New Jersey.

A successor has not yet been named, though current deputy administrator Robert Perciasepe will serve as acting administrator until a new administrator is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Perciasepe has been with the EPA off-and-on for about 20 years in various capacities. After leaving EPA in 2003 to serve as COO for the National Audubon Society, he returned at the request of Obama and Jackson in 2009.

Jackson's announcement is the most recent in the fire-sale of Cabinet-level resignations that often follows the reelection of a President. Other Cabinet officials who have announced they are leaving, or have at least unofficially signaled they would soon leave, include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Geithner, and others. Senator John Kerry has already been nominated by President Obama to be head of the State Department. Kerry has indicated, as has Obama, that climate change will be a relevant issue to be pursued in Obama's second term. This may impact the choice of a replacement for Jackson. While attempts to pass climate change legislation early in Obama's first term, including a bill co-authored by Kerry, as well as regulatory action by EPA, were met by Republican obstruction, look for the new EPA Administrator to have significant influence on this topic.

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