Lisa Jackson has no small job ahead of her. As the new EPA administrator, she's charged with protecting public health and safeguarding the environment. One of her first initiatives is to follow up on a USA Today series that found hundreds of America's schools located dangerously close to toxic hot spots. Administrator Jackson talks with PRI's Living on Earth host Bruce Gellerman about testing the air that schoolchildren breathe, regulating carbon dioxide, and what she'd like to do with the EPA's proposed budget increase.
"(There is) more about the importance of restoring the American public's trust that EPA is first and foremost a science based organization. That we need to be a place where American's look to get answers and American's need to believe that those answers are based on the soundest science that we can possibly muster and without regard to politics, if you will. That the environment is clearly a nonpartisan, nonpolitical issue at its heart. People care about the places where they live and work. So we've talked a lot about making sure that agency scientists are – and their science – are respected and conversely, that they live up to awesome responsibility of being a voice for the environment and public health in this country.
Second, we talked about restoring the rule of law at this agency. I wouldn't call it lawless, but we've had some – a number of cases where our major regulatory actions, especially on air, have been overturned by the courts. And what's really disturbing there is that, in the mean time, a framework for protection of human health is undermined.
Finally, we've talked a lot about transparency and the importance of people being able to see inside this agency and feel assured that no individual stakeholder or special interest is making the agenda, that our agenda is governed by an open dialogue with all stake holders, environmental groups, industry advocates of all types, and then we move on based on science and the law. You know, this EPA, the Obama EPA is on the job, and all we can ask of the American people is that we be given an opportunity to earn their trust and to have them see us as a steward of the issues that they care about. That is our fundamental job here at EPA."