In the wake of rumors that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar may resign from the cabinet, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday formally announced her departure. Cabinet officials frequently rotate out of government as an administration transitions to a second term, so Jackson has not surprised anyone by leaving. She has not announced a departure date, only indicating that she will remain through the President’s State of the Union address.
The big question is “who will replace her?” Names are already floating for potential Jackson successors, including a handful of Northeasterners, and the California Air Resources Board’s Chair, Mary Nichols. The most likely choice may be the current Deputy Administrator, Robert Perciasepe. According to The Hill, the White House has stated that Perciasepe will serve as Acting Administrator if noone else is confirmed in the Senate by the time Jackson departs.
It is too early to tell whether environmental organizations will coalesce around a desired candidate, and if so, whom. The EPA of course plays a critical role in greenhouse gas regulation and a wide variety of other significant environmental issues. As supporters of the President’s re-election, many environmental activists will certainly be looking for a friendly appointment. As they say, stay tuned.