EPA’s Lisa Jackson: On Fracking, Keystone and Running for Office

EPA’s Lisa Jackson: On Fracking, Keystone and Running for Office

By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

Environmental policy was front and center Tuesday evening at the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley as EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson took the stage with former Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm. Fracking and the proposed Keystone pipeline were hot topics during the lively discussion.

In December, Jackson announced that she will leave her post after four tumultuous years in DC and didn’t rule out running for elected office. Speculation is rife about her running for Governor of New Jersey.

On Fracking

“It can and should be done safely..I’m enough of a scientist to say: the verdict is not in yet. We need more data.”

On the Keystone Pipeline

“I will be gone (from the EPA) before a decision is made. A revised environmental impact study will be done, then public feedback, then President Obama will decide ‘if it’s in the national interest’. This will take into account pollution, groundwater, and the economic perspective. It’s too soon in the process to say (if it will get the green light).

A Price on Carbon?

“The current climate doesn’t lead me to believe there will be a national law soon. But that doesn’t preclude state action (such as California’s), and the private sector, where important progress can be made.”

Jennifer Granholm, who was a strong advocate for cleantech during her eight year tenure as Governor of Michigan added, “The Federal Government could offer a pot of money to incentives states to take action and stimulate progress from the bottom up.” She likened her idea to the “Race to the Top” program for education.

On Green Innovation and the Role of the EPA

“The EPA can level the playing field by setting emissions standards and goals which stimulate the private sector to compete and beat them. It often costs less than EPA estimates, due to private sector innovation. But the private sector needs uniform and not patchwork standards…”

“The EPA works for all the American people, not special interests…it’s not a zero sum game. For it to succeed no one needs to lose. There are win/win strategies. Regulations need to be enforced. The work we do is vital and sacred.”

On Science and Climate Change

“I am a scientist and at the EPA we have more scientists than any other Federal agency except NASA…We face a roll-back in the Clean Air Act. Be aware that consensus is enough – unanimity is not required or you’ll miss the window for action.”

There was a vocal climate change skeptic in the audience whom Jackson addressed directly saying he wasn’t representative of the majority of Americans.

On her Greatest Achievements at the EPA

“The endangerment finding made pollution actionable…and we raised fuel efficiency standards.”

As Dana Hull explains in the Mercury News, during Jackson’s tenure, the EPA finalized its endangerment finding which authorizes it to take reasonable efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

The event was hosted at the Microsoft Campus in Mountain View by Rob Bernard, the company’s green czar.