If it seemed like retiring EPA Chief Lisa Jackson carried out her job with a religious zeal, you’d be right.
Barack Obama’s pick as his first EPA administrator told a 2010 National Council of Churches conference in New Orleans that government and religious leaders must unite in their “moral obligation” to heal the planet and “build on the religious and moral reasons for being good stewards of our environment.”
“The question now is, ‘What we can do?’” the green-church devotee concluded, adding that her efforts were blessed by the White House’s Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership.
Her legion of Washington media disciples — who would have condemned such moral bravado by the Religious Right — ignored her rhetoric. But in punishing those she deems carbon sinners, Lisa Jackson has done enormous harm to American workers.
Today, thousands of coal miners are without work as her power plant regulations (backed by a president who embraced Jackson’s crusade, calling global warming “one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation”) have bankrupted mining companies such as Patriot Coal and forced others such as OhioAmerica and Alpha Natural Resources to downsize. An oil opponent, Jackson successfully lobbied the president to reject the transcontinental Keystone Pipeline, costing the U.S. some 20,000 jobs. Her global warming zeal extended to autos when she took the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) away from the Transportation Department — mandating that auto companies meet a pie-in-the-sky standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025 in an attempt to eliminate the internal combustion engine (the industry is spending millions on lobbying to water down the rules).
Jackson’s holy war created a rogue agency unanswerable to Congress. Her coal and CAFE edicts were done without the input of America’s elected representatives, creating a backlash that has led to endless hearings before Congressional Republicans. Despite the House revolt, Jackson’s agency churned on with its wave of rules. The resulting job consequences were illustrated in a dramatic photo-op with coal miners and Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign at a Murray Energy facility in Ohio — an event met with a near blackout by national media.
Rumors abound that Jackson’s resignation is the result of controversy over secret e-mails that Jackson authored exposing her War on Coal. But her public actions are scandalous enough. Having forced the shutdown of dozens of coal plants, the EPA chief dropped one final bomb before Election Day — announcing carbon caps that effectively end new coal plant construction in the U.S.
“This agency (knows) no bounds,” said Chris Hamilton, senior V.P. of the West Virginia Coal Association after the new rules were announced. “Their actions don’t take into consideration people’s livelihoods, jobs, or the existing liability of energy companies.”
With more regulations in the pipeline covering everything from “environmental justice” (Jackson subscribes to the radical theory that the location of industrial plants discriminates against poor minorities) to natural gas fracking, the reign of Jackson cannot end soon enough.