Remember those national carbon trading bills that were moving through Congress as Barack Obama was setting up shop in the Oval Office? The head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency says: Don’t hold your breath.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s appearance on KQED’s Forum Wednesday seemed to confirm that her boss is picking his battles carefully. “What America’s talking about right now is jobs,” Jackson told host Michael Krasny. “Green jobs are what we have to be working on with everything we do.” The message seemed to be that environmental goals will take a back seat, unless they can be linked to job creation.
Krasny walked Jackson through the checklist of recent controversies, such as today’s decision to postpone greenhouse gas regulations beyond a September 30 deadline, and to let stand Bush-era standards for ozone pollution.
Jackson wriggled out of directly addressing the backlash against President Obama’s green jobs initiative since the collapse and federal investigation of Fremont-based Solyndra Corp. Jackson said only that this is “an important moment,” and that “We have to double down” on clean energy commitments, rather than retreat in the wake of one corporate calamity. “It’s more important than ever that instead of backing away, we continue to insist on investment by our elected officials in that sector of our economy.”
As to the proposed tar sands pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, a project that has prompted demonstrations outside the White House, Jackson said no decision has been made but that “certainly people are hearing” the public outcry against the idea.