Senate confirms Lisa Jackson as EPA Administrator

| 1/23/2009

The U.S. Senate confirmed nominee Lisa Jackson as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, arming the regulatory agency with a chief poised to attack emissions and pursue cuts in climate-changing pollution.

The EPA administrator will likely have a powerful effect on the future of trucking, including overseeing regulations for diesel engine emissions and investigating controversial topics such as carbon cap and trade systems.

Rod Nofziger, director of government affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the Association looks forward to airing truckers’ viewpoints with all new appointees of the new presidential administration.

“We will be doing all that we can to ensure that she fully recognizes how actions taken by the EPA impact the lives and livelihoods of American truckers,” Nofziger told Land Line.

In mid-January, Jackson told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that “Science must be at the backbone of what EPA does.”

“If I am confirmed, I will administer with science as my guide,” Jackson said. “I understand that the laws leave room for policymakers to make policy judgments. But if I am confirmed, political appointees will not compromise the integrity of EPA’s technical experts to advance particular regulatory outcomes.”

That same day in mid-January, a partnership of many U.S. businesses formally proposed an economy-wide cap-and-trade program that would issue emissions credits. The emissions credits could be bought by businesses that emit more than they are allowed and could be sold by businesses that polluted less and had more than enough credits.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership’s cap and trade proposal has a heavy emphasis on transportation and on capping emissions for all private businesses, which could translate to drastic expenses for trucking companies. The plan comes during a time when trucking companies, large and small, are skeptical of environmentally motivated changes that could affect their bottom lines.

Jackson – who worked previously for the EPA as a staff engineer and project manager between 1987 and 2002 – will direct an estimated 18,000 agency employees and oversee a $7 billion annual budget.

The Senate also has confirmed Nancy Sutley to be Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, said in a statement she was pleased the Senate confirmed Jackson and Sutley, calling their confirmation the first steps taken “toward restoring the EPA and CEQ to their proper role as organizations that fight to protect the health of our families.”

“Lisa Jackson and Nancy Sutley are well-qualified to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and the Council on Environmental Quality, and they respect and understand that their organizations’ mission is to protect public health and the environment.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer