Jackson Doubles Down on Clean Energy
Administrator Jackson is refreshing, smart, candid and compelling – a real person who is taking on some of the toughest challenges in the country (and suffering some of the most vicious attacks from the fossil fuel lobby).
By Ross Macfarlane
It’s a time honored tradition: after major presidential addresses, top administration officials fan out across the country to reinforce key themes. The nation’s top environmental official, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, visited Seattle on Wednesday in a follow-up to the State of the Union Address. We had the chance to help with her visit and spend most of the afternoon with her, and came away very impressed. Administrator Jackson is refreshing, smart, candid and compelling – a real person who is taking on some of the toughest challenges in the country (and suffering some of the most vicious attacks from the fossil fuel lobby).
When EPA called us asking for suggestions of companies that exemplify clean energy innovation for a tour and press event, we were excited to point them to EnerG2. This company – a direct outgrowth of UW research on nanomaterials – creates structured carbon materials for use in batteries and other energy storage applications. In an interview with King 5’s Gary Chittim, Jackson emphasized that EnerG2 was exactly the kind of company that she and President Obama wants to see. "Manufacturing, and energy, a new energy economy, skilled workers and entrepreneurial values, all in one place." EnerG2 is opening its first full-scale manufacturing facility, built in part with Recovery Act dollars, in Albany, Oregon, next month.
A small group of executives from our Business Leaders for Climate Solutions network then met with Administrator Jackson, Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. We had a roundtable discussion on the clean economy and environmental protection, and the leaders offered their own perspectives on key priorities. Administrator Jackson reiterated President Obama’s commitment to leadership on clean energy and environmental protection. She also emphasized that the administration would not back down from their commitment to begin to regulate the biggest sources of climate pollution, including motor vehicles and the largest power plants. Spanning a wide range of companies and sectors including energy efficiency, renewable fuels, consulting, energy storage and consumer products, the business leaders all urged her to keep working to combine job creation and leadership in clean energy and the environment.
While there were some things in the State of the Union that caused us to cringe (gas and “clean coal” listed as sources of renewable energy?!?, opening most of our coasts to oil and gas drilling?), the speech contained a strong message of continued support for clean energy. The President strongly urged that we end subsidies for the oil industry and increase investments in wind, solar and energy efficiency. It is clear that the administration is not backing down on its commitment to clean energy. President Obama reemphasized this resolve in a visit in Colorado – speaking at a military base to underline his directive to the Armed Services to stress energy efficiency and clean energy. We are not alone in supporting these policies. One survey found that the clean energy references only trailed his mention of the succesful mission to find Osama Bin Laden in getting a strong, positive response from independent voters.
We look forward to welcoming Administrator Jackson back to the region very soon and seeing the administration follow through on its commitment to help bolster the clean-energy economy. In Lisa Jackson, we have a strong advocate for these policies.