Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Protecting Employees Who Protect Our Environment


December 15, 2008


Latest News :

·    EPA Desecrating Native Artifacts on EPA Superfund Sites

·    Lawsuit to Block Tribal Takeover of National  Wildlife Refuge

·    EPA Delay on Electronic Reports Undercuts Eco-Enforcement


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As word of President-elect Obama's environmental team was being authoritatively leaked around town, one name jumped out at us - Lisa Jackson, until recently head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, was tapped to head EPA.

Anguished DEP employees (and a few who had resigned in disgust) urged us to put the word out about Jackson, including her -

·    Failure to tell parents or workers at the Kiddie Kollege day-care center for three months about mercury contamination in the former thermometer factory it was located in (kid you not);

·    Efforts that set water quality standards so low that aquatic life in the state's rivers and lakes would be poisoned - and that was according to the Bush administration, which also had to intervene to rescue New Jersey's crippled Superfund program; and

·    Suppression of science, politicized decision-making, and an embrace of secrecy (even invoking "executive privilege" to shield her meeting calendars from public view).

In short, her former staff at DEP would be the last to nominate her for promotion.  The stories from DEP workers are eerily reminiscent of what we have been hearing from dispirited EPA staff during the Bush years.

As one might imagine, our note of dissent on the Jackson pick is being drowned out by a chorus of happy talk.  We will be urging the Senate and anyone else who seriously want to evaluate Ms. Jackson's record to talk to the parents of the Kiddie Kollege toddlers.

I have a feeling that in the coming years, more than ever, PEER will be called upon to tell inconvenient truths.  Please support this (presently) lonely mission.

P.S. Look at our effort to clean house at the corrupt Interior Department with a new broom named Raśl Grijalva.

P.P.S.  For those of you following the adventures of Heather Wylie, the kayaking Army Corps biologist, her saga has a happy ending which you can read about here.