Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson today announced she will resign following the President's State of the Union Address next month.
Jackson, the first African-American EPA Administrator, led the charge behind tougher air quality standards, including soot and fine particulates. She also introduced the first greenhouse gas regulations.
On Dec. 14, Jackson announced final standards for PM2.5, or fine particle pollution, but retained original standards for coarse particulate matter, also known to some as "farm dust."
Jackson released the following statement regarding her announcement:
"I want to thank President Obama for the honor he bestowed on me and the confidence he placed in me four years ago this month when he announced my nomination as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
At the time I spoke about the need to address climate change, but also said: '"There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children's health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.'"
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.'" 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."
President Obama said Jackson had shown "unwavering" commitment to the health of families and children, and has led the EPA in sensible and important steps to protect air and water quality, improve fuel standards and address climate change.
"Lisa has been an important part of my team, and I want to thank her for her service in my Administration and her tireless efforts to benefit the American people. I wish her all the best wherever her future takes her," Obama said.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, too, praised Jackson for her efforts.
"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."
Farm, and energy groups commended Jackson for her commitment to renewable fuels.
"During her tenure, EPA worked diligently in providing sound science and analysis to approve E15 for consumer use, uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard and resist calls for a waiver," said National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson. "EPA also took further steps to include a wider variety of feed stocks for the RFS, including grain sorghum, which will expand opportunities in rural America."
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said Jackson has been a "dedicated advocate" for energy independence and cleaner air.
"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," Buis said.
Jackson started with the EPA in 1987 as a staff scientist and later joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2002. She was appointed commissioner of the agency in 2006.
Jackson is a New Orleans native, and is married with two sons.