Obama May Tap Gov. Gregoire as New EPA Chief – Administration Official Claims It’s Only Speculation
One of the quietest news stories over the holiday was the abrupt resignation of controversial EPA director Lisa Jackson.
Would the possible appointment (soon-to-be former) Washington Governor Chris Gregoire mean a more measured, reasonable EPA? One of the biggest criticisms of the federal agency has been its heavy-handed, overzealous approach to environmental issues.
According to Gregoire's communications director, J. Cory Curtis, no official offer has been made about the EPA position. Numerous media outlets are claiming it will happen soon.
Controversial decisions by EPA under Jackson include:
- A regional director of EPA operations in Texas who resigned after being caught on video saying alleged polluters should be crucified. Jackson did not publicly reprimand the official, nor did the EPA issue any rebuttals of that view until after the official stepped down.
- Georgia Power plans to shut down 15 power plants, costing over 480 jobs, due to new EPA regulations concerning the regulation of mercury emissions. Georgia Power said the new regulations would make the plants too expensive to operate, even though they already meet all EPA standards.
- The agency attempted to reclassify numerous dry land areas in the U.S. as wetlands, which would fall under federal or EPA protection. It would have prohibited citizens from developing or utilizing their own private lands as they saw fit. By a vote of 9-0 the Supreme Court slammed the EPA decision and issued a strongly worded statement condemning its overreach of power.
- The agency recently has been under fire for its attempts to introduce policies that would regulate common farm dust! Due to uproar from farmers, citizens and political leaders, this has been shelved - for now.
The big question about Gregoire's appointment would be whether she runs the agency with a reasonable balance between environmental concerns and business; or, will she serve as a puppet for Obama's agenda, as Jackson did. Under Jackson, the EPA quickly became known as an enemy of industry. EPA policies will continue to cost thousands of jobs.
During her term as governor, Gregoire at least attempted to seek a common ground when it came to environmental issues -- especially salmon restoration and rivers in Washington. There was at least some consideration for manufacturers, businesses and how environmental policy could affect the economy.
EPA director is one of the most crucial appointments in the federal government, especially with the emphasis on the environment over the last decade or so.