Following her late-night Senate confirmation on Thursday, incoming Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a memorandum to all EPA staff Friday laying out her mission:
With his election and with my appointment, President Obama has dramatically changed the face of American environmentalism. With your help, we can now change the face of the environment as well.
In her memo, Jackson said, “I will uphold the values of scientific integrity, rule of law and transparency every day.” Her pledges for action indict the record of the Bush administration EPA:
– “scientific judgments . . . suppressed, misrepresented or distorted by political agendas”
– “policy decisions should not be disguised as scientific findings”
– “EPA cannot misinterpret or ignore the language Congress has used”
– “EPA cannot turn a blind eye to the court’s decision or procrastinate in complying”
– “we are not doing an adequate job of assessing and managing the risks of chemicals”
Jackson also called on her staff “to connect with those who have been historically underrepresented in EPA decision making,” from the minorities and poor to small businesses and towns.
She also signaled that the clock for Congress to act on climate legislation will soon start ticking: “As Congress does its work, we will move ahead to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision recognizing EPA’s obligation to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.”
The only notable omission from the memorandum was a call for the EPA to restore its independence from the White House. Under Bush, the Environmental Protection Agency effectively became a servant of White House Office of Management and Budget officials, who corrupted the EPA’s work with the help of compliant EPA administrator Stephen Johnson. EPA must regain its authority as the independent watchdog of our nation’s environmental health.
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