Lisa Jackson Announces EPA's Future Plans, Key Priorities

When Lisa Jackson took over as the EPA’s administrator last January, she put together five priorities for her first year in office.

In reflection of her 12 months as head of the governmental agency, Jackson released her thoughts on the direction in which she will steer the EPA. Incorporating both community feedback and the senior policy team, Jackson has added two main goals for the upcoming year: expanding the conversation on environmentalism and strengthening state and tribal relationships.

Jackson is already on her way to establishing these added priorities. In 2009, the EPA worked with tribes across the nation to clean up hazardous waste sites and allot funding for clean water and improved air quality.

"These priorities will guide our work in 2010 and the years ahead. They are built around the challenges and opportunities inherent in our mission to protect human health and the environment for all Americans.  We will carry out our mission by respecting our core values of science, transparency and the rule of law." Photo: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

“These priorities will guide our work in 2010 and the years ahead,” writes Jackson in her memorandum. “They are built around the challenges and opportunities inherent in our mission to protect human health and the environment for all Americans.” Photo: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Here’s Jackson’s take on her top priorities and what we can expect from the EPA this year:

Taking action on climate change: “2009 saw historic progress in the fight against climate change, with a range of greenhouse gas reduction initiatives. We must continue this critical effort and ensure compliance with the law. We will continue to support the President and Congress in enacting clean energy and climate legislation.”

Improving air quality: “We have already proposed stronger ambient air quality standards for the ozone, which will help millions of American breathe easier and live healthier. Building on that, EPA will develop a comprehensive strategy for a cleaner and more efficient power sector, with strong but achievable emission reduction goals for SO2, NOx, mercury and other air toxics.”

Addressing safety of chemicals: One of my highest priorities is to make significant and long overdue progress in assuring the safety of chemicals in our products, our environment and our bodies. […] “We are shifting EPA’s focus to address high-concern chemicals and filling data gaps on widely produced chemicals in commerce. At the end of 2009, we released our first-ever chemical management plans for four groups of substances, and more plans are in the pipeline for 2010.”

Expanded community cleanups: “Using all the tools at our disposal, including enforcement and compliance efforts, we will continue to focus on making safer, healthier communities. I am committed to maximizing the potential of our brownfields program, particularly to spur environmental cleanup and job creation in disadvantaged communities.”

Improving and protecting water quality: “America’s waterbodies are imperiled as never before. Water quality and enforcement programs face complex challenges, from nutrient loadings and stormwater runoff, to invasive species and drinking water contaminants. These challenges demand both traditional and innovative strategies.” […] “Recovery Act funding will expand construction of water infrastructure, and we will work with states to develop nutrient limits and launch an Urban Waters initiative.”

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