EPA's Lisa Jackson Is at the Center of Obama's Climate Change Policy

The EPA administrator has moved quickly to undo Bush's environmental legacy.

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TOP ENVIRONMENT PLAYER

Since taking over the Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator Lisa Jackson has moved quickly to reconsider several controversial Bush-era environmental decisions, signaling that the agency under her direction will play a very different role from that under recent predecessors.

Nowhere is this change in direction more apparent than in a handful of recent, potentially far-reaching maneuvers related to climate change policy. In January, Jackson directed EPA officials to reconsider California's languishing request to impose stricter greenhouse gas emissions limits on motor vehicles. (The Bush administration denied it in 2007.) More recently, she instructed the agency to review Bush policies that, if changed, could lead to federal regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants and utilities.

Because these reviews clearly have the White House's backing, Jackson's first few months in office suggest that she will play a critical role in carrying out the administration's climate change policy, even as the details and timing of a carbon dioxide regulation plan remain undecided. Though noting that laws "leave room for policymakers to make policy judgments," she also has pledged "to administer with science as my guide." Jackson comes to the EPA with significant regulatory experience, having served for more than 15 years at the EPA before becoming New Jersey's chief environmental regulator in 2006.

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