Lisa Jackson is doing exactly what an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator is supposed to do thoughtfully and carefully but aggressively implementing our environmental laws to protect public health and our environment. The job of the EPA Administrator is not to make people happy but to make them and their environment healthier.
She arrives equipped with a rare combination of assets to help her do her job: in equal measure, experience, fairness, sure-footedness, determination and the ability to sound a credible and measured voice in defense of citizens' rights to fresh air, clean water and a stable climate.
A chemist by training, Jackson, 48, grew up in New Orleans, went to Tulane and Princeton and spent 16 years at the EPA before becoming New Jersey's environmental commissioner. She inherited an EPA suffering from a reputation as a political wind sock. It is tempting to conclude that the EPA's authority is drawn primarily from its regulatory power, as indeed much of it is. But Jackson has correctly sensed that restoring public trust in the agency is essential. In this era of growing public mistrust of government, that same public as well as states, industry, small businesses and, importantly, EPA staff must have confidence that decisions are being driven by science and an unbiased interpretation of the law, and not a political agenda. Jackson is inspiring this kind of confidence.
Ruckelshaus was the EPA Administrator from 1970 to '73 and 1983 to '85
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