The Associated Press reported Thursday morning that Lisa Jackson is stepping down as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrator “after a nearly four-year tenure marked by high-profile brawls over global warming pollution, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, new controls on coal-fired plants and several other hot-button issues that affect the nation’s economy and people’s health.”
Her tenure at EPA was also, most recently, marked by scandal.
It was reported last month that Jackson was being investigated by the U.S. House for allegedly using secret email accounts to conduct official business outside the prying eyes of requests conducted under the Freedom of Information Act.
The word “allegedly” can now be removed as those secret communications are now confirmed.
Audry Hudson, writing for Human Events, reported on Wednesday that “Jackson [who] is the boss at one of the most contentious government agencies in the Obama administration,” is routinely conducting her business in secret.
Jackson heads the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been criticized for using its regulatory powers to severely limit carbon emissions.
According to the Human Events article, Jackson has been clandestinely sending and receiving thousands of emails in making decisions and conducting business using alias email accounts.
Jackson’s secret identity email account name is “Richard Windsor.” The name is part family dog (Richard) and part hometown (East Windsor, N.J.), and it turns out there are at least 12,000 recently discovered but as yet undisclosed emails using her government-approved pseudonym that has prompted two congressional inquiries and an inspector’s general (IG) investigation.
“Our objective is to determine whether EPA follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business,” said the IG’s notice last week announcing the audit.
Commenting on her resignation, both Jackson and President Obama ignored the scandal involving the alias email account.
“I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference,” Jackson said in a statement.
The president praised Jackson in a separate statement.
“Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution.”
Interestingly, the disclosure of Jackson’s secret emails comes at a time when the Senate sent a bill to the president making it legal for government to view private email accounts without the necessity of first procuring a search warrant.