Farm Bureau official: 'We don't expect EPA's game to change much'
By MITCH LIES
A top farm policy executive doesn't expect the Environmental Protection Agency to relax efforts to expand its jurisdiction over water and air just because current administrator Lisa Jackson is stepping down.
"Frankly, the issues that agriculture has been wrangling with regarding EPA's regulatory efforts did not begin when Lisa Jackson became administrator," said Dale Moore, deputy director for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation. "And I seriously doubt that Lisa Jackson's departure means we get a holiday from EPA regulations."
Jackson, who took over as administrator of EPA Jan. 23, 2009, announced Dec. 27 she will depart some time after the Jan. 21 inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Moore said he has heard two names surface as possible replacements for Jackson: current EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe, and former head of President Clinton's Council for Environmental Quality Kathleen McGinty.
"If she became EPA administrator, I have no doubt EPA would not take a holiday," Moore said.
McGinty also formerly served as secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Perciasepe is a former chief operating officer for the National Audubon Society and formerly worked in EPA during the Clinton administration.
"They are not going to break stride much while they wait to get a director," Moore said.
Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, also has surfaced as a possible replacement, according to Peter Schlegel, director of the energy and environment team for the American Farm Bureau.
The Farm Bureau is embroiled in efforts challenging EPA's authority to regulate pesticide applications under the Clean Water Act and to crack down on air emissions from farms under the Clean Air Act.
"These are issues the EPA has worked on and that Ms. Jackson has been head of," Moore said, "but we don't expect EPA's game to change much.
"We just look forward to whoever comes in being someone we can sit down and visit with," Moore said.
Asked what he was looking for in a new administrator, Schlegel said: "Ideally, you want somebody with a broad perspective, who understands what they are doing at the agency and how they interpret the law affects people on the ground."
Also, Schlegel said, it is important to get an administrator "who doesn't have a preconceived notion on how the law is supposed to work and who is willing to listen."