When Lisa Jackson announced yesterday that she was stepping down as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, she said she was confident that the “ship is sailing in the right direction.”

Well, it’s a good thing it’s a wind-powered ship and not one that relies on more traditional energy sources.

Jackson’s four years at the EPA have been disastrous for the coal industry, and generally threatening to carbon-based fuels. She and her agency have tried their best to steer the country away from coal, all the while extending the agency’s authority to new heights.

Scott Segal with Bracewell and Giuliani, a firm that represents utilities that use coal, is quoted as saying that Jackson “presided over some of the most expensive and controversial rules in the agency’s history.”

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts had a more blunt assessment during an appearance earlier this year on Metronews Talkline:

“The Navy SEALS shot Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” Roberts said.

Jackson and her cohorts, with the blessing of President Obama, managed the agency like imperial bureaucrats, piling up rules and regulations with no regard for the limits of administrative power or the cost of their decrees.

Early on in the Obama Administration, Congress decided not to pass a cap-and-trade bill limiting greenhouse gas emissions.  The people’s elected representatives worried the convoluted system was too expensive and unlikely to have a significant impact on climate change.

Undeterred, Jackson took it upon herself to impose the standards administratively, making the rules so tight that it’s virtually impossible to build a coal-fired power plant in the future.

It was under Lisa Jackson that the Clean Air Act was interpreted to go beyond air pollution and also apply to the weather.

Then there were the wildly expensive new mercury rules for power plants, all 1,117 pages of them, that are supposed to save lives and make everyone healthier.  The Wall Street Journal reported that 99.99 percent of the purported health benefits came from double-counting pollution reductions that current rules already address.

In her spare time Jackson made it harder for coal operators to get mine permits, especially for mountaintop removal.  When Arch Coal fought back over the EPA’s decision to revoke a permit for the Spruce #1 mine in Logan County, a judge ruled in Arch’s favor, calling the EPA’s logic “magical thinking.”

Meantime, Jackson maintained a bureaucratic smugness. Even West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall, who has a history of working with the EPA, found himself shut out.

President Obama, in accepting Jackson’s resignation, said the EPA had made “historic progress.” That, however, depends on your definition of the word “progress.”

The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign reports that in the last three years, no ground has been broken for any new coal-fired power plants, 13 proposed coal plants have been abandoned and 126 plants have announced they are shutting down.

If that’s a ship sailing in the right direction, then America will have to be satisfied with an energy policy that’s wildly off course. 

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Comments

  • Boothe

    What a croc. What a massive, pathetic, hypocritical croc is all this propaganda about a "War on Coal."
    There are REAL ISSUES driving the need for a reduction in carbon emissions. There is only ONE habitable world that humanity has to call home, yet we allow the coal mafia to dismiss all efforts to protect that one world's climate - without even facing the real issue. Instead, we swallow whole their propaganda that dismisses any and all efforts towards environmental progress as just the evil efforts of the President and some bureaucrats to attack coal miners. As if they even attempted politically risky but NECESSARY moves just because of some mysterious avarice towards miners.
    Meanwhile, the coal industry has routinely forfeited the life and safety of miners with safety shortcuts, but carries on like the beloved miners are all it cares about - WHEN it wants to rally the troops for a political lynch mob.
    Shame on the industry, shame on its political pawns, but shame also on the people who swallow such shallow hypocrisy, and swallow it whole.
    The coal industry trumpets its progress on reclamation work - but neglects to mention that we have Ken Hechler and his 1977 Mining and Reclamation Act to thank for better mine reclamation work, not the goodness of industry's heart. The industry brags of its contribution to the economy and tax base - but neglects the way that it fought things like coal severance taxes tooth-and-nail for as long as it possibly could. (Witness its response to WV Gov. William Marland in the 1950s...)
    The coal industry's record shows a clear determination to resist all forms of safety and environmental improvement - until reformers or (dare I say it?) "big government" finally FORCED them to (somewhat) clean up their act.
    Unltil someone has a working warp drive to flee this planet with, our deliberate, reckless ignorance with regards to our impact on our ONE AND ONLY world's climate is the REAL "attack on our way of life."

  • gene jones

    Cecil Roberts and his union backed Obama. the loss of jobs are what he deserves.

  • Steve

    The real problem with everyone is the lack of intellegence that goes into the decisions that are made. People are acting like children, calling people names. What does stubbornness truely solve? Be open to different ideas. Work together for viable solutions that can work for everyone. Don't act like Kindergarten students unless you want the results you would get from a 5 year old.

  • DonaldH

    You people need to stop with the; Lisa Jackson did this and Lisa Jackson did that... Here's a clue for you as to who is to blame for the Coal industry being on life support--- O-B-A-M-A.. Cecil Roberts needs to admit he helped kill the industry by supporting the election of obama....

  • Uncle Fester

    I wonder if Jackson's "anonymous" email account at the EPA had anything to with her resignation?? And didn't Obama claim he was going to have the most transparent administration ever?? Get your chest-waders on boys and girls, the shovel-ready jobs Obama promised a few years back are here in his administration. With all the BS the Obama administration is shoveling on the American people, those shovelers are working overtime. Obama is a man of many words, but not one of them will he keep.

    • dolphin3111

      You are probably right, Uncle Fester. Jackson, disguised as "Richard Windsor" in order to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act, has used that email account to send secret messages regarding the EPA's political agenda.

      The "War on Coal" may have did her in.

      • DonaldH

        I searched "Richard Windsor" and it's a sexual S&M sight dedicated to spanking "Little Girls"--- So why did Ms Jackson use that name?

  • dolphin3111

    Christopher said ~~ “clean air and clean water = extreme environmentalism” FALSE! Everyone wants clean air and water.

    And for your information, clean air and clean water have absolutely nothing to do with climate change. However Ms. Jackson, a so called chemical engineer, hiding under a facade of science to promote her own (and Obama’s) political agenda, would like you to believe that it does. CO2 is good for the earth! It promotes “green” and increases food production.

    Good riddance, Ms. Jackson.

  • Harvey Peyton

    Gee whillickers, Hoppy, how could such a little woman get you and the others so upset. To think that the Environmental PROTECTION Agency deemed its mission to protect the environment and not to promote the interests of landowners and coal producers seems to be just too much for you to bear. What should the levels of allowable solids in mine discharge water be? How about levels of mercury in emissions from coal fired power plants? I suspect the views of the Wall Street Journal and Ruopert Murdoch are a little different from those of public health experts concerned about the high incidence of infant autism in this country and sportsmen who used to enjoy the use of now sterile Dunkard Creek. Since you find the WSJ authoiratative on this issue, do you share old Rupert's attitude on gun control? I suspect not. The burning of coal was banned in 16th century London because of its health effects. We are trying to hold back the hands of time heere in West Virginia so our age of exploitation and minimal economic benefit can last just a couple of decades longer. Remember, if coal is all that keeps the lights on, the lights will be turned out here when the coal is gone--and it doesn't hurt to plan for when that day comes. Have a good time in New York--a city with lots of police, few guns and zero mass shootings in grade schools. Seriously, have a good New Year and cheer for the Mountaineers.

    • DonaldH

      Harvey,
      Globally, Asia contributes nearly 50 percent of anthropogenic mercury emissions, with North America at 7 percent and Europe and North Africa at 12 percent combined, according to Lamar University professor Jeremy Lin in 2012..

      So Harvey, don't you think you would better serve Mother Earth if you moved to China and protested the Chi-Coms and their lack of emmision controls? I'll chip in a few bucks for a plane ticket and I'm sure a couple of more here will, too.. How'bout it can we get you to leave...

    • Uncle Fester

      Leave it up to you liberals to make a joke out of "mass shootings in grade schools". The likes of you, hopship, GregG, TD and you liberals are deplorable. There are just no limits to the bad taste you all have.

      • GregG

        Fungo...I mean Uncle Fester, would you be so kind as to tell me as to why your calling me out when I have not post anything on todays commentary?

      • Harvey Peyton

        It is not a joke. New York City has a professional, highly paid and well run police department. The city has stirct limitations on the use and possession of firearms. The murder rate is lower than that of West Virginia and there have been zero mass shootings in New York City grade schools. That should help point the way for the future--better law enforcement, some resonable limits on lethality. Why you would consider this a "joke" defies me.

        • Wowbagger

          Mr Peyton,

          When in New York remember to watch out for the crazys who will push you onto the subway tracks in front of the train because they don't like your looks! Mayor Bloomberg says hate crimes like this are no big deal, but you should not be able to defend yourself! The Supreme Court has already ruled that Police have no obligation to protect you as am individual. I'll keep my weapon and stay in West Virginia thank-you!

        • DonaldH

          Oh Harvey stop tooting NYC and and their goofy mayors horn over this.. the murder rate across the country is down this year but NYC rate may be the lowest since 1963 but it didn't drop as much as the national average. More people are still killed with a Louisville Slugger** than with a rifle in the US
          ** a club of sorts..

  • Sampeer

    One has to agree with DWM in that Jackson was only carrying out the agenda of her boss, Obama. It isn't the bureaucrats, that we should blame. All the blame belongs to the members of congress, the president, and US Supreme Court. They are the ones who bear total reponsibility for the direction of government. We need to hold them and them alone responsibile.

  • DWM

    Hop,

    Lisa Jackson seems to get the brunt of our ire but she was only implementing the policies that her boss directed her to implement, the stooge we just elected to his second term. So if real energy (wind, solar, ect is a nice thought, too bad it does not work) people think that the next director of the EPA is going to be less confrontational and easier to deal with, they've got another think coming.

    Lisa Jackson wasn't the problem, Obama is.

  • Donnie

    My fear is her replacement will be even more radical.

    • CaptainQ

      This is entirely possible, Donnie. Whoever replaces 'Captain' Jackson will still be taking their marching orders from 'Admiral' Obama. Count on it.

  • hillboy

    The initial Clean Air Mercury Rule was issued by EPA in 2005 under the Bush Administration. Even though the rule wasn't finalized, many coal-fired and oil-fired plants went ahead and installed mercury reduction equipment. About 60% of coal-fired power plants are operating profitably with mercury removal equipment and have been for years. It is mainly power companies with antiquated plants that have stalled full implementation of mercury control. The steel industry, cement manufacturers, and municipal and medical waste incinerators have all been subject to mercury control regulations for some time.

  • CaptainQ

    Thank you, Lisa Jackson, for giving West Virginia the BEST Christmas gift you could possibly give: your resignation!

    Hoppy, not only is the 'ship' going in the wrong direction, but under 'Admiral' Obama's orders, 'Captain' Jackson has been bombarding West Virginia's coal industry trying to sink it faster. Nevermind the fact that nearly 50% of America's electricity is produced by coal-fired power plants and nevermind the fact that as it states at THIS moment in time, there is NO OTHER substitute for coal to do that job.

    Honestly, if the Obama Administration would tackle the Federal Deficit with the same dedication and purpose they've attacked WV's coal industry, the Federal Budget would already be balanced by now!

    And speaking of the Federal Budget, my prediction is that America WILL go over the 'fiscal cliff' because (as the rumors in Washington say) this is what the President and Democrats WANT. They want higher taxes, and by purposely stalling the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations, they can not only achieve this but also cast ALL of the blame for it on the GOP (courtesy of the Main Stream Media). Watch and see! No 11th hour compromise is coming. In public, Obama will whine about this but privately, he will be smiling wider than Jimmy Carter ever did.

    Have a great and safe weekend everyone!

  • Shadow

    The Best Thing that has happened to Government in 2012 and provides hope for 2013.

  • Christopher

    Wanting clean air and clean water = "extreme environmentalism"

    Hoppy is hoping for a climate change denier as the next EPA head.

    • DonaldH

      Yeah, just like wanting a ballanced budget makes one a radical, right?

      • DonaldH

        balanced

  • Tim

    Nail on head !