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nosmokes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:09 PM
Original message

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2008
Contact: Jeff Ruch (202) 265-7337


Disastrous Record in New Jersey Bodes Ill for Reforming EPA

Washington, DC The track record compiled by Lisa P. Jackson as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection should disqualify her from serving as the next head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, says Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In many instances, Jackson embraced policies at DEP echoing the very practices at the Bush EPA which Senator Barack Obama condemned during the presidential campaign.

DEP employees describe Ms. Jackson as employing a highly politicized approach to decision-making that resulted in suppression of scientific information, issuance of gag orders and threats against professional staff members who dared to voice concerns. These reports raise troubling questions about her fitness to run an agency of much greater size and complexity. Among concerns PEER points to are

* Cases in which public health was endangered due to DEP malfeasance, including one case involving a day-care center in a former thermometer factory in which DEP failed to warn parents or workers for months about mercury contamination;
* Rising levels of water pollution, contamination of drinking water supplies and poisoning of wildlife with no cogent state response; and
* The state hazardous waste clean-up program under Ms. Jackson was so mismanaged that the Bush EPA had to step in and assume control of several Superfund sites.

While Ms. Jackson has a compelling biography, little of what occurred during her 31-month tenure commends her for promotion, stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. Under her watch, New Jerseys environment only got dirtier, incredible as that may seem.

In one of her first acts, Jackson appointed the lobbyist for the New Jersey Builders Association as her Assistant Commissioner to oversee critical water quality and land use permits. Jackson later convened an industry-dominated task force to rewrite DEP policies and relaxed pollution enforcement through policies more business-friendly than those under Gov. Christie Whitman. Relying on closed-door deal-making with regulated industry executives and lobbyists, Ms. Jackson produced decisions, such as

* Invoking executive privilege to block a request filed by PEER under the state Open Public Records Act for a copy of her schedule and sign-in logs;
* Pushing to privatize pollution control through outsourcing of toxic clean-ups to industry;
* Abolishing the DEP Division of Science & Research after it produced damning reports on continuing contamination following state-supervised clean-ups.

In our experience, Lisa Jackson is cut out of the same professional cloth as the current administrator, Stephen Johnson a pliant technocrat who will follow orders, Ruch added. If past is prologue, one cannot reasonably expect meaningful change if she is appointed to lead EPA.

The one area where Ms. Jackson claims national leadership is the state climate change program but PEER contends that examination of her record yields paltry results

* DEP failed to meet its first major statutory milestone in implementing the emission reduction goals of the highly touted Global Warming Response Act. A June 30th legal deadline for producing a plan identifying the legislative and regulatory measures necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions still has not been met. At the same time, Ms. Jackson supported and Gov. Jon Corzine signed The Permit Extension Act which exempts thousands of projects from any new energy conservation, efficiency or requirements for solar heating or renewable energy;
* New Jersey missed the historic first auction of greenhouse gas pollution allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, this September because DEP was unable to adopt regulations to implement the pollution trading program that underpinned the auction; and
* Jackson proposed a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that will do little to combat global warming because it sets emissions caps above current levels and contains numerous complex offsets and loopholes that undercut its effectiveness.

Given what actually transpired in New Jersey, putting Ms. Jackson in a key position for guiding a national global warming effort would be imprudent, Ruch concluded. The Obama transition should take a little more time to find the right choice for this critical job.

complete release including links to related sources here
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Thrill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. Shes been praised by other people.
People find shit to be outraged about with everyone. And I'm sick of these interest groups telling Obama what he should or shouldn't do. There are no squicky clean people
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. This is a debate board...
By definition, people will disagree. In doing so they use arguments and cite facts and sources, unlike your meaningless and empty response. If you're sick of actual information, why don't you find yourself a cheerleader squad?

Oh, and interest groups is all there is. It's called class society. Right now, the rich, the banks, the War Party (empire and military-industrial), the corporate media, the drug war/police/prison complex and the big corporations are among the interest groups who have been in charge forever. You should be sick of them.
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Thrill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Obama should appoint who he thinks is the best for the job
and the hell with the people who have their own agenda and disagree with it
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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. Obama to meet Gore to discuss energy and climate tomorrow
CHICAGO, Dec 8 (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will meet Nobel Peace laureate and former presidential candidate Al Gore in Chicago on Tuesday to discuss energy and climate change, Obama's office said.

Gore, who won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work to combat rising temperatures and boost awareness of climate change, will meet with Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden to discuss how energy and climate policies "can stimulate the economy and create jobs," a statement from Obama's office said.

Obama is in the process of narrowing down picks for top energy and environmental Cabinet posts and has signaled that both will be major policy priorities for his administration.

Gore, the former Democratic vice president who lost the 2000 election to George W. Bush, has indicated he is not interested in a position of climate "czar."

You can damn well be assured that President Gore will give Obama
the top names he thinks should be in the cabinet. You can also be assured
President elect Obama will listen too.
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