Congressman Rahall On Talkline
West Virginia’s Third District Congressman says he’s hoping the federal Environmental Protection Agency takes a different approach under a new Administrator.
Democrat Congressman Nick Rahall was a guest on Friday’s MetroNews Talkline, a day after current EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson notified EPA staff members of her plans to leave that role in the New Year.
“It is an opportunity for the White House to set a more reasonable and balanced course with respect to the energy policies and coal jobs in a second administration,” Congressman Rahall said of Jackson’s planned departure.
“I hope more reasoned heads will prevail now and that we will find a replacement who better understands what the costs of the EPA’s regulations mean to our communities across rural and Appalachian America and what it means in regard to jobs for our people.”
President Barack Obama praised Jackson in a statement on Thursday.
“Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson has shown an unwavering commitment to the health of our families and our children,” President Obama said.
Critics of Jackson, though, say she’s presided over some of the most expensive and controversial rules in the agency’s history.
Congressman Rahall says the past four years, with Jackson in charge of the EPA, have been frustrating.
But, he admits, the issues facing the coal industry are not just about one person or one agency. “Coal’s problems are not totally, not totally, 100%, to be blamed on the EPA,” he said.
Even without Jackson in charge, Rahall says the industry will still be dealing with increased competition from low priced natural gas, the depletion of high quality, easily accessible coal seams and a decline in coal demand.
In a statement, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said the following about Jackson’s departure:
“There is no question that Lisa Jackson and I definitely have our differences, but we were always able to have a respectful dialogue. I wish her well in her next endeavor,” the Senator said.
“I will continue to fight for a balanced energy policy for the United States, which is exactly what we have in West Virginia, and I look forward to working with anyone willing to help bring this common sense West Virginia approach to the 113th Congress.”
At this point, no successor has been named for Jackson. Reports indicate EPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe will likely take over temporarily.