Day and Night

EPA chief Lisa Jackson tests water in Compton Creek.

Wednesday was a rewarding whirlwind: An extraordinary afternoon in the Compton Creek, a stimulating evening roundtable at the Skirball, and an after-hours meal in Venice. 

A few weeks ago, the federal Environmental Protection Agency reached out to Heal the Bay to let us know that chief Lisa Jackson would be visiting the L.A. area and that she wanted to visit Compton Creek.

Heal the Bay contacted Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ office and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority to set up a tour for Jackson at Compton Creek. The agreed-upon plan was to announce the long-anticipated purchase of the four-acre soft-bottomed section of Compton Creek and a request to Jackson for federal assistance to develop a flood-control improvement plan based on a low-impact development approach rather than raising the walls on the river.

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Emergency Urgency

EPA chief Lisa Jackson should be leading the cleanup effort.

The Gulf oil crisis continues to grow with no end in sight. The numbers are staggering:  more than 1,000 dead birds, another 300 or so dead sea turtles, more than 85,000 square miles of Gulf closed to fishing, 150 miles of coast and wetland soiled with oil, 40 million to 80 million gallons of oil wreaking havoc on the Gulf ecosystem and well over $5 billion in liability for BP and the gang. Inexplicably, blame for the ongoing blowout has stuck to President Obama like crude on a pelican’s wings. It isn’t fair, but the consequence is still potentially devastating.

A few words of advice for the administration from a member of the environmental peanut gallery:

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The New EPA

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Click image to view video of speech.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Click image to view video of speech.

On Wednesday night, I found myself on top of a mountain in Aspen, listening to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson give the kickoff keynote at the Aspen Environmental Forum. Speaking in a deliberate style that reflects her Southern roots, Jackson made it clear to the 300 people assembled that the days of Environmental Destruction Agency in the Bush era are now officially over.

Jackson emphasized that the Obama administration’s top priorities are climate change and building a green economy led by sustainable energy policies.  She pledged support for renewables that reduce our dependence on foreign oil from politically charged nations, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the creation of tens of thousands of new green jobs, and improved public health of communities suffering from the impacts of dirty fossil fuels.

Money talks, so it’s worth noting that the Obama administration has called for the largest EPA budget in the 39-year history of the agency.

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