Sierra Club

Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

 

For Immediate Release January 14, 2009                 

Contact: David willett, 202-675-6698 (DC)
Jeff Tittel (609) 558-9100 (NJ)

 

Lisa Jackson will be a Great Part of Obama Green Team 


Washington D.C. The Sierra Club and its New Jersey Chapter strongly support Lisa Jackson to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency. We believe Jackson will make an outstanding administrator.

"The Sierra Club has had a very close, very positive relationship with Lisa Jackson during her many years of public service in New Jersey," said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director. "We now very much look forward to working with her in her new role as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. She brings a strong scientific background to an agency where for the past eight years science and knowledge have been systematically corrupted and disregarded."

"It is very rare in government to find someone who has strong technical and scientific background, a clear understanding of policy, a long regulatory history, the ability to work with different types of people and interest groups and very strong environmental principles," said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.  "We believe Lisa Jackson is clearly going to be a major part of President-elect Obama’s green team and that together they will tackle the problems of climate change, toxic site cleanups and protecting the environment for the people of the United States."

Jackson has 19 years experience working up the ranks as an EPA staff person and six years of experience with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). As a native of New Orleans lower 9th ward, Jackson has a clear understanding of environmental justice and the failure of government to act on climate change.

"The EPA under the Bush Administration is broken, Lisa Jackson is the right person to bring that agency back to the forefront of environmental protection," Tittel said. "Lisa Jackson is part of the change that we need." 

During her tenure as commissioner of the DEP she worked closely with the Sierra Club and other organizations to push the state’s environmental agenda forward. Some of her notable accomplishments are as follows:

Global Warming - Jackson took the lead in New Jersey’s fight against global warming. She pushed the governor to support the Global Warming Response Act, legislation that set ambitious goals for statewide emissions reduction. She guided implementation of the act by developing New Jersey’s Greenhouse Gas Plan.  Land use and energy were the topics under her jurisdiction, although she has also worked to improve the transportation portion. In 2008 the state released the Energy Master Plan, a guiding document for energy consumption and production. The draft version provided for increases in coal and nuclear power. Jackson advocated for renewable energy and efficiency measures; it is now one of the most progressive plans in the country.  She is also responsible for the environmental analysis laying the groundwork for New Jersey to develop the first off-shore wind farm in the nation. Finally, she was New Jersey’s lead on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which has given her experience on a cap and trade allowance system.

Water - During Jackson’s tenure New Jersey passed the strongest protections against flooding in the nation. The regulations put 300 foot buffers on high quality water, 150 foot buffers on any water with habitat for endangered species, and no net fill in flood hazard areas. In addition she has promoted a buyout program for flood prone properties. She also upgraded six hundred miles of streams to Category 1, the state’s highest level of protection. This includes tributaries of the Wallkill, Toms River, Musconetcong and others.

Sewer Services -  Jackson removed more than 300,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land from sewer service areas. The extension of sewers systems on these lands would have promoted high density development.  This was the largest removal of acres in state history and was critical to protect the lands above critical water supply reservoirs. Jackson also passed standards to regulate the density of septic tanks during development.

Open Space - Jackson was a leading advocate in government for reauthorizing the Garden State Preservation Trust, the state’s funding authority for open space purchases. During the 2008 budget crisis she worked to keep the state parks open by leading the effort to dedicate a stable source of funding. She stopped some of the worst sprawl projects in New Jersey, including the Abbey in Morris, Pinnacle in Oakland, the expansion of Merrill Lynch in Hopewell, Deazer Homes in Andover, and Wal-Mart in the Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. 

Site Remediation - New Jersey’s site remediation program has many problems and is significantly understaffed, but Jackson has improved the public notice and public hearing process for contaminated sites.  She also worked with the legislature to close loopholes in the site remediation program and give the DEP more authority in selecting remedies for contaminated sites. She put 1,800 sites back on the state’s site remediation list and Standard Chlorine back on the Superfund list after they were removed by the previous commissioner. At the notorious EnCap site Jackson uncovered violations and stopped work. Jackson also worked to pass the Kiddie Kollege law, requiring environmental analysis and stricter standards for schools and daycare centers.

Additional Successes - Jackson led the effort to retrofit diesel school buses around the state. She worked to impose a moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crabs, and she cancelled the state’s bear hunt and promoted a non-lethal management plan.

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