- CRITTER TALK
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In light of the recent resignation of EPA Chief Lisa Jackson, the Beltway rumor mongers have been busy indeed, as insiders claim Jackson quit prematurely because she understood President Obama was going to OK the pipeline project, which has been widely condemned by responsible environmentalists.
Barack Obama has been just as zealous as George Bush in stripping away environmental, health and safety protection at the behest of industry, it turns out, says The Guardian.
Some environmental organizations were beginning to suspect this, after Obama over-ruled his scientific advisers and blocked stronger ozone standards.
Now, a new report from the Center for Progressive Reform has dug up some key data revealing that the White House in the age of Obama has been just as receptive to the pleadings of industry lobbyists as it was in the Bush era. And it goes far beyond ozone.
Under Obama, a little known corner of the White House – known as the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, or Oira – has changed more than 80% of the rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and that has angered EPA boss Lisa Jackson.
According to the New York Post, EPA chief Lisa Jackson suddenly resigned last week because she was convinced that President Obama is planning to green-light the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, The Post has learned.
“She was going to stay on until November or December,” said a Jackson insider. “But this changed it. She will not be the EPA head when Obama supports it [Keystone] getting built.”
While the State Department — not the Environmental Protection Agency — is responsible for the pipeline process because it’s an international project, Jackson is still the president’s top adviser on ecological policy.
She has expressed concerns over the proposed $7 billion pipeline that would carry Canadian oil sands through the US to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama early this year rejected the Keystone project, but the pipeline’s operators have refiled their applications. And Jackson has told insiders that the president will approve the project this time — perhaps as soon as March or April.
Pipeline advocates charge it would be irresponsible to kill Keystone because it would create a windfall of jobs and economic activity.
Critics say the process of extracting oil from the tar sands produces excessive greenhouse-gas emissions.
Jackson’s spokeswoman, Victoria Rivas-Vazquez, referred back to the original announcement that she wanted to “pursue new challenges, time with her family and new opportunities.”
She said “the idea that her decision was made based on anything else is entirely false.”
The White House would not comment on Jackson’s rationale for resigning. Spokesman Clark Stevens said the “State Department’s assessment (of Keystone) is ongoing and any speculation would be premature.”
Now I don’t know what the president is thinking when he goes against the will of the majority, but no doubt, in this case at least, this is some sort of under the table compromise, much like the White House’s delisting of America’s wolves in order to garner the support of Montana’s Senator John Tester (D), and Idaho’s Representative Mike Stimpson (R) in a budget negotiation.