EPA administrator traces her support for science to Princeton
Lisa Jackson, who received her master’s degree in chemical engineering from Princeton in 1986, was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Jackson has said that during her tenure the agency will run on the basis of scientific evidence. “On my first day as EPA administrator I said that the EPA is back on the job, and that science must be the backbone for our programs,” she said. “I pledged that all of our decisions and regulations will depend on rigorous adherence to the best available science—a guiding principle that has been with me since my time at Princeton.”
In her first months on the job, Jackson initiated a number of changes at the EPA. Among other moves, she announced the agency would consider regulating carbon dioxide emissions from new coal power plants and would address the effects of greenhouse gases from vehicles and regulate them if necessary. She also said the agency would conduct an aggressive review of the permitting process for mountaintop coal mining, due to concerns about potential harm to water quality.
Jackson attended Princeton after earning her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Tulane University in 1983. She later served as top enforcement officer for the federal EPA, working out of Washington D.C. and New York. Beginning in 2006, she was commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, a position she held until this past fall when she resigned to serve for a short time as New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s chief of staff before joining Obama’s team.
“She’s politically astute in the good sense of the word,” Christopher Daggett, a former New Jersey environmental commissioner told the New York Times. “She understands the political process.”