Lisa P. Jackson will soon step down as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she announced Thursday, heralding the end of a tenure that saw mixed results in the battle against global warming. Thanking President Obama for “the confidence he placed in me four years ago,” Jackson revealed that she would leave her post after the 2013 State of the Union address, which is scheduled for late January.
Jackson has steered the EPA through choppy seas since 2009, facing stiff criticism from industry groups and Republicans on issues ranging from carbon dioxide and mercury emissions to smog standards and fuel-economy rules. While her proactive style often met resistance — sometimes even from the White House — she became a hero to many in the environmental community, who praise her efforts to fight climate change, prevent toxic dumping, improve air quality and promote environmental justice.
“There has been no fiercer champion of our health and our environment than Lisa Jackson, and every American is better off today than when she took office nearly four years ago,” Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke said in a statement Thursday. “For that, we are deeply grateful to Lisa for her service, and to President Obama for having appointed her to this vital position.”