Lisa Jackson, EPA administrator, to step down

Bob Perciasepe to serve as interim--and possibly permanent--replacement
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Lisa Jackson will step down as head of the Environmental Protection Agency later this month, the EPA announced Dec. 27.

Jackson, the EPA's first black administrator, will leave after the president's State of the Union address, the agency said in a statement, though it did not provide an exact date.

Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe is in line to serve as interim administrator. He left the National Audubon Society, where he was chief operating officer, to take his current position in 2009. He previously served in the EPA as a Clinton administration appointee, and was also an official in Maryland's state government and Baltimore's city government.

Perciasepe is a top candidate to permanently head the EPA, according to a Washington Post article. The Post says Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, is also likely to be considered.

In a statement about Jackson's resignation and achievements at the EPA, President Obama noted the agency's first national standard for mercury pollution and her role in establishing new fuel economy standards.

Under Jackson, the EPA also declared for the first time that carbon dioxide, along with other greenhouse gases, threatens human health.

"These long-overdue findings cement 2009's place in history as the year when the United States Government began addressing the challenge of greenhouse-gas pollution," Jackson said at the time.

Numerous congressional Democrats released statements praising her. Her actions throughout her tenure have drawn impassioned criticism from congressional Republicans, though. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) called her resignation "a late Christmas gift to the Appalachian coal fields. Under her charge, the war on coal raged," he said in a statement.

While also critical of Jackson's decisions, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said he "always appreciated her receptivity to my concerns, her accessibility and her honesty."

For more:
- go to the EPA statement
- go to the White House statement

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