Ethanol groups, Vilsack, praise Jackson’s work

Jan 4, 2013
by DTN

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, who made several pro-ethanol decisions key to the economy in rural America, but who ran into conflict with some farm leaders and Republicans over regulations, announced last Thursday that she will resign.

Leaders of Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association on Thursday praised Jackson’s work in putting the Obama administration’s commitment to ethanol and other biofuels into action.

Jackson said she will leave her position after President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union message on Jan. 24, three days after he is inaugurated for a second term.

Bob Perciasepe, the current EPA deputy administrator, is expected to manage EPA at least temporarily. Perciasepe and Kathleen McGinty, a former head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection and a protege of former Vice President Al Gore, are considered leading candidates to succeed Jackson, Reuters reported Thursday.

Jackson made the decision to approve the fuel known as E15 and rejected petitions to relax the federal mandate requiring the use of cornbased ethanol in the nation’s gasoline supply.

In a statement Thursday, Obama praised Jackson for “playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution.”

Obama also said that under Jackson’s leadership, EPA had made key decisions on air, water and mercury, and had taken “important action to combat climate change.”

Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, which represents the builders and makers of ethanol plants, said Jackson “has been a dedicated advocate for the renewable fuels industry and her work to reduce our nation’s addiction to foreign oil, while providing cleaner air and a better environment, should be commended.”

“As administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, she should be applauded for all she has done to advance biofuels and a cleaner,  better environment,” Buis aid. “Growth Energy wishes her well and thanks her for her tireless work during her time at the EPA.”

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, also praised Jackson’s work putting the administration’s commitment to ethanol and other biofuels into action.

“During her tenure, she cleared the way for E15, giving consumers more choice and savings at the gas pump, and she protected the progress that has been made in reducing our dependence on foreign oil by recognizing the importance and inherent flexibility of the RFS,” Dinneen said. “The ethanol industry thanks her for her service and looks forward to working with her successor to continue the growth of America’s domestic renewable fuels industry.”

Some farm leaders and many Republican senators and members of Congress criticized Jackson for being overzealous on regulation, particularly for the agency’s consideration of changing the level of dust that would be allowed on country roads. The agency decided not to make that change, but Republicans continued to raise the issue months after that announcement.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who recently criticized rural leaders for focusing too much on the dust regulation after they knew it would not be changed, praised Jackson’s tenure Thursday.

“Lisa Jackson has served our country well as she balanced improving the environment and the health of the American people—while ensuring our country’s economic competitiveness— because they are intrinsically linked,” Vilsack said in a news release.

“Throughout her tenure, she listened to stakeholders, including farmers and ranchers, and took their concerns into account while considering policies that impacted rural America. She was a friend to me and to those who live and work in rural America and her leadership will be missed.” — Jerry Hagstrom, DTN