While you were celebrating the holidays and all things fiscal cliff, you may have missed this little news item out of Washington – Lisa Jackson, the embattled EPA administrator is out.
The EPA, during Jackson’s term, has repeatedly been beaten up by some in Congress as the poster child of an out of control regulatory environment. Furthermore, many of the EPA’s recent initiatives have been snagged in the turmoil of the economic discussions that have been front and center in Washington for the last four years. As Reported by the New York Times, even the White House has moved to slow down or sidetrack recent EPA initiatives, like the standard on ozone pollution control that the White House buried out of economic concerns.
An interesting article by Steven Cohen on the Huffington Post Blog gives an insider’s view of the EPA under Jackson’s tenure and provides recommendations for making the EPA more relevant going forward.
While supportive of Jackson, Cohen says the “EPA's approach to the environment is embedded in the environment-economic growth trade off. When the White House and the media (not to mention the House Republicans) think of EPA, they think of it as the anti-growth, eat-your-spinach, don't use that plastic bag, Department of Things We Aren't Allowed to Do.”
His recommendation is to refocus the EPA toward a more sustainable outlook that better ties the EPA’s mission of clean air and water to economic and energy needs. He suggests rolling the EPA and parts of the Department of Energy, Interior and Agriculture under one umbrella.
EPA Deputy Administrator, Bob Perciasepe, is expected to take over in the interim.