Home > Uncategorized > In Wake of Severe Criticism of EPA On Gulf Dispersants, Lisa Jackson Visits Jersey

In Wake of Severe Criticism of EPA On Gulf Dispersants, Lisa Jackson Visits Jersey

I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
Poisoned in the bushes and blown out on the trail
Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
“Come in” she said
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm”
.   ~~~ “Shelter from the storm”  Bob Dylan (1975)

What Won’t Be In Tomorrow’s News

[Updates below]

In the wake of a firestorm of severe criticism of EPA’s handling of BP use of toxic dispersants in the Gulf (see CNN, and Senate Oversight hearing, and Mother Jones magazine, and Democracy Now! and MSNBC) and the EPA response to a major oil spill in Michigan, Lisa Jackson came home to Jersey today.

Jackson, flanked by political supporters Congressman Frank Pallone and Edison Mayor Antonia Ricigliani, spoke today about EPA’s commitment to science and protection of public health and the environment. Jackson’s press release said:

“Science is the foundation of everything we do at EPA. As someone who started at EPA as a staff scientist and spent my career in this area, I have seen the results from these labs translate into real environmental protection. The ongoing response to the BP spill in the Gulf and the Enbridge spill in Michigan, demonstrates just how crucial good science is to protecting communities and confronting environmental emergencies.”

But those specific commitments were directly called into question by longtime EPA career employee and whistle-blower Hugh Kaufman (watch him in the above links), who said:

KAUFMAN: Well, the working level troops in research, some of the toxicologists who have experience and education, were trying to get management to pay attention to the data that EPA had and has had for decades, but to no avail. There was a political decision made to let BP take the lead as opposed to the government being proactive, as we used to be.

O’DONNELL: Now, when you say a political decision, are you saying that that decision was made by EPA administer, Lisa Jackson, a Barack Obama appointee? Or was it made outside of the EPA?

KAUFMAN: The decision was made outside of the EPA, by political appointees. But I don’t have the vision to see how high up that was made. My vision is limited, because I’m in the middle of the bureaucracy.

And just for the record, because Jackson touted her bio, I must note that she omitted some important facts.

Jackson started her career in Washington DC, in an industry created beltway lobbying organization seeking privatization and reforms of Superfund in order to reduce industry liability and cleanup costs.

She worked for two years at Clean Sites, a nonprofit funded by the chemical industry. This led to a job as a staff engineer with the EPA, where she stayed for 16 years.” (link)

According to SourceWatch:

Clean Sites Inc. was a U.S.-based corporate front group which was described by Mark Megalli and Andy Friedman in their landmark review on the use of front groups in the U.S. as “concerned about the costs to its sponsors of toxic cleanups.”[1]

In commenting on Jackson’s nomination, PEER Direcor Jeff Ruch presciently said:

In our experience, Lisa Jackson is cut out of the same professional cloth as the current administrator, Stephen Johnson “ a pliant technocrat who will follow orders. If past is prologue, one cannot reasonably expect meaningful change if she is appointed to lead EPA.

[Update #1 – I thought I’d provide this excerpt, which is sourced to the NY Times, for those having trouble finding it in the links, and just to emphasize exactly who Clean Sites, Inc. really was (see “Fronting for Business“):

A September 1, 1991 front page New York Times article titled “Experts Question Staggering Costs of Toxic Cleanups,” reports that “environmental experts” are questioning whether the U.S. government’s program to clean up hazardous waste dumps is worth the estimated $300 to $700 billion cost. The environmental experts referred to in the article say it isn’t. But who exactly are these environmental experts? One is Tom Grumbly, who the Times reporter identified as an “environmentalist who is president of Clean Sites, a non-profit organization in Virginia that advises communities on hazardous waste cleanups.”

Actually, Grumbly, as he himself pointed out in a September 11, 1991 letter to the Times, does not represent an environmentalist constituency. Clean Sites is a corporate front group, concerned about the costs to its sponsors of toxic cleanups.

Every day, groups with deceptive names, groups that represent major U.S. corporate powers, seek to dupe journalists and citizens into believing that the reports they produce and the positions they advocate are something other than the usual corporate propaganda.

The reason is simple: it is easier to believe disinformation when the disinformation is coming from an apparently uninterested party.

Update #2: 8/4/10: I told you so. The Star Ledger dutifully fell in line with a stenographic, lapdog, puff piece: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency builds new emergency response labs in Edison and the Bergen Record and the Asbury Park Pressran the AP story.

At least NJN reporter Ed Rodgers‘ story reported that the event was political. Ed focused on the politics of Pallone’s upcoming  race and the hot issue of Obama’s approval of offshore drilling off the Virginia coast just weeks before the gulf blowout. What Ed didn’t report was that in 2007, Jackson testified to the US Senate as DEP Commissioner in opposition to that drilling, so she either was ignored by Obama or went along with a terrible decision to support the Obama drilling plan. So we’ll remind you of that testimony

Lisa Jackson’s January 25, 2007 testimony to US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (@ page 18)- opposed off shore drilling based on based on Virginia location and proximity to NJ beaches – did she give Obama the same advice?:

I would like to reaffirm the State of New Jersey’s opposition to oil and gas lease sales for areas off the coast of New Jersey, as well as the opening of the mid-Atlantic to offshore oil and gas development. Such an action would leave New Jersey vulnerable to damage caused by drilling related incidents in nearby waters. While I can only speak for New Jersey, other northeast states, including Delaware and Connecticut, have been just as vocal in their opposition to drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.

Our coast helps drive our tourism economy, which brings in more than $36 billion a year. In fact, one out of every six jobs in New Jersey is related to the Coastal Zone, making coastal revenues our state’s largest economic sector . $4.5 billion comes from commercial and recreational fishing and aquaculture alone.

Speaking of oil spills, the news blackout remains on this issue, which is supposed to be voted on by the NJ Senate on August 23. And since Jackson used the Edison event to talk about science at EPA, of course this issue was ignored too.] end update]

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