Home > Uncategorized > Breaking! Logjam in Hazardous Waste Site Cleanups Is Broken!

Breaking! Logjam in Hazardous Waste Site Cleanups Is Broken!

Lisa Jackson’s Career Trajectory A Perfect Example of Corporate Capture

William Reilly was instrumental in the 1984 founding of Clean Sites, Inc., the public-private partnership that broke the logjam in hazardous waste site cleanups.   ~~~ 
A Profile of the New Administrator – EPA Journal March/April 1989

Bet you didn’t know that the logjam in hazardous site cleanups was broken back in 1989, by a “public-private partnership” known as Clean Sites, Inc. (that’s Washington DC beltway spin for a corporate front group).

Keep in mind that Clean Sites Inc. was formed in 1984, at the height of the “Reagan Revolution”, i.e. “government is the problem, not the solution” – and the deeply ideological,  anti-regulatory, anti-government 94th Congress’ “Contract on America”.

Reflecting that ideology and corporate interests, but posing as a public interest group, Clean Sites Inc. really was:

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]

The group now appears to be defunct. The last financial return for the 501(c)(3) registered non-profit group was filed for the year ending June 30, 2000. It revealed that the group had no income in that year. However, in the decade before, Clean Sites had run a significant operation.

Or that President Bush’s (I) EPA Administrator William Reilly did that good deed, in altruistic pursuit of sound public policy.

So, what’s the current relevance of this 25 year old information?

Lisa Jackson’s revolving door move to Apple prompts me to mention something I’ve been meaning to clarify for a long time.

I’m further motivated by the way the issue is simply buried on Lisa Jackson’s promotional Wikipedia page.

I am referring to the literally never mentioned fact that Jackson began her career at Clean Sites, Inc., a corporate DC Beltway front group – funded by and serving the chemical industry – who worked hard and effectively to rollback the federal Superfund program.

This reality directly and completely undermines the myth that Jackson is some career government technocrat that worked her way up the EPA food chain to attain high office.

Lisa Jackson began her career at Clean Sites, Inc. – something that is virtually never mentioned in her biography.

Jackson was wired politically from day one (just look at the Directors of Clean Sites Inc., the institutional mission and covert development strategy, and the corporate interests they represented:

II. Resource Development: Initially, CSI is to be funded by contributions from industry and from foundations. The strategy has been to show a strong chemical industry commitment which is then extended to other industries that generate hazardous waste and then to approach foundations to request support for a very specific piece of CSI activity, probably the Technical Review function where independence of function should probably be matched by some “independent” funding.

Of course, it is likely that as CSI develops, companies who utilize its services will contribute to the operation.

For now, the chemical industry is moving quickly to support half of CSI’s costs for the first three years. The materials found under Tab II explain how this process works. The key documents here are the commitment forms on which CMA companies commit on the basis of chemical and chemical product sales. The formula used assumed full support from the chemical industry and  was calculated to yield $2.5 million in year one, $3.5 million in year two and $5 million in year three.

From day one, Jackson always had a firm understanding of and close affinity with corporate economic interests.

From day one Jackson had powerful political connections that obviously opened doors for her.

The perspectives, training, and contacts forged in places like Princeton and Clean Sites Inc. are the values that are rewarded by the political culture in government agencies, which has become increasingly corporate, increasingly captured by corporate interests, and prone to revolving door incentives and abuses.

Those “careerists” in agencies that manage to advance know exactly how to play the game – don’t make waves.

If a bureaucrat in an environmental agency should step out of line, and buck management to become an “advocate” of science and the public interest, that would amount to isolation, marginalization and pariah status – career suicide.

Jackson attended Tulane on a scholarship from Shell and went to graduate school at elite Princeton University.

Of such humble origins, corporate culture is fostered, corporate values reinforced, corporate capture is founded, and the revolving door swingeth.

So I am not surprised by the Apple move.

The move to Apple returns full circle to Jackson’s origin in corporate America.

And that, my friend, is a storyline you will never hear in any mainstream media outlet – or whispered by any environmental group.

(PS – Maybe they’ll send her to the Ireland tax office, given Jackson’s government experience with loopholes)

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  1. Bill Neil
    May 30th, 2013 at 18:29 | #1

    Bill, you’ve never jumped very high for Ms. Jackson; is her start at “Clean Sites, Inc.” something you just came across now, or something that you broached before which was just ignored? It would seem to be a pretty damning bio fact for someone seeking the posts she has held.

  2. May 31st, 2013 at 07:43 | #2

    @Bill Neil

    Bill – I first learned about the Clean Sites connection when Jackson was undergoing EPA confirmation. I made Boxer’s staff aware of it and her record at NJ DEP.

    All that work resulted in a series of rapid fire questions at the very end of a long hearing – nothing on Clean Sites. And those questions came after all the press and most members had long gone. But, it ids available on the vidfeo-tape and hearing transcript.

    For readers out there, I’ve been in scores of DEP management team meetings with Ms. Jackson (she was an Assistant Commissioner when I was at DEP working for the Commissioner) and, keeping it simple, lets just say I am not impressed and do not like her approach to deliberation and briefings at those meetings. She always kept her cards close to the vest, took no chances, and dealt with issues 1 on 1 in confidence with the Commissioner.

  1. May 24th, 2015 at 02:38 | #1
  2. May 19th, 2019 at 12:39 | #2
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