EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Announces Resignation

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has announced her resignation after almost four years as head of the agency.

President Obama designated Jackson as the nominee for EPA administrator on December 15, 2008, and she assumed office on January 23, 2009. The 50-year-old chemical engineer was the first black and fourth female administrator of the agency.

Jackson was often met with resistance from Republicans and industrial groups who said that the EPA was destroying jobs. Opponents also said that the EPA’s rules made it harder for American companies to compete internationally.

Jackson said in a statement, “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.” She did not give a date for when she would be leaving office, but she will at least be staying until after President Obama’s State of the Union address in late January.

In his own statement, President Obama said:

“Under [Jackson’s] leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution.”

During Jackson’s tenure at the EPA, the agency finalized a new rule that doubled fuel efficiency standards in cars and light tracks. Set to be phased in over the next 13 years, the requirement for all new vehicles will be 54.5 mpg, up from last year’s 28.6 mpg.

Earlier this year, the Honda Fit EV earned a 118 MPGe fuel efficiency rating, which made it the highest EPA rated vehicle in the US.

Prior to becoming administrator, Lisa Jackson worked at the EPA as a staff-level engineer. She later served as deputy director and then acting director of the agency’s New York/New Jersey enforcement division. She worked at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for six years.