Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club, lavishes praise on Lisa Jackson, former director of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to head the national Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“I think it’s a great appointment,” said Tittel. “She’s young, dynamic, well-spoken and has very strong, core environmental beliefs.”
Calling the 46-year old Jackson “Corzine’s star,” Tittel credited her with convincing the governor to support the state’s global warming initiative and for strengthening the alternative energy focus of the state’s energy plan.
Jackson, who began her job as DEP director when Corzine was elected governor in 2005, grew up in the 9th Ward of New Orleans. She attended Tulane University and Princeton University and began her work in environmental regulation as a career EPA person.
“She’s seen firsthand when government fails to deal with climate change,” Tittel said of Jackson, whose diabetic mother lost a leg after getting displaced to the Superdome from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
Asked to compare Jackson with her predecessor at the DEP, former director Bradley Campbell, Tittel said she was the “un-Bradley.”
“Brad was all about making deals and politics,” the Sierra Club director said. “Lisa is about policy.”
As for former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman, who served as President George W. Bush’s first EPA director, Tittel contrasted Jackson as someone who “worked her way up through the ranks as opposed to an aristocratic appointment.”
In a Thursday afternoon interview with Whitman, MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell asked the former governor and EPA administrator about the Jackson appointment.
Whitman said one of Jackson's biggest challenges would be restoring morale to the EPA after Bush.
"They're pretty deep in the hole right now,"admitted Whitman, who added that she thinks Jackson is up to the task.