UW campus treated to special visitor: EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson

November 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm Leave a comment

United States EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson

For a woman who had not grown up as an outdoors person, Lisa P. Jackson has grown to become a strong believer in a clean energy economy and toxic reform to fight the issues of air and water pollution.  As the first African American administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lisa also addresses one focal point of her work to be that of environmental justice.

Before diving into an explanation of the EPA’s efforts to answer Obama’s call for federal agencies to work with American businesses and create jobs, Lisa stressed the importance of protecting the health and well-being of American citizens as a non-partisan issue.  “It affects red states, and it affects blue states,” she remarked in her introduction.

“It’s time to stop politicizing your air,” she commented.  With that groundwork in motion, Lisa moved on to inspire the crowd to action.  Her message was simple: young people, students, and educators have always been the people to generate environmental change and it is the same today.  The EPA needs the continual support of these voices.

One of the highlights of the speech came as a response to a question from the audience: “What is the next most important issue after climate change?”  Lisa responded by prioritizing the issues she thought  were most significant.  At number one was a clean energy as the economy of the future.  Second, was improving the regulations on NOx and SOx. Thirdly, she spoke of toxics reform specifically referring to pollution of water and air. Lastly, but of no less substance, Lisa spoke about environmental justice.  Specifically, she pointed out the need to include environmental justice into the fabric of legislation.  Environmental justice should not be it’s own program, rather regulations should be written with environmental justice concerns in mind.

Though she did not expand much, Lisa shed light on one major movement that threatens the existence and goals of the EPA.  The development of fuel efficient cars, regulation to reduce the amount of mercury in consumer products, and efforts to protect water are all subject to one claim which states that the EPA hinders economic growth.  In response to this claim, Lisa has made clear and continues to argue: “We can preserve our climate, protect our health and strengthen our economy all at the same time.” All in all, Lisa left the audience feeling optimistic by offering an invitation to join the fight to protect our planet.

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Entry filed under: energy, events, other, people, sustainability, Toxins, water.

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