EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is adopting a populist stance as she pushes ahead with first-time greenhouse gas rules, charging that oil and coal lobbyists are using “scare tactics” to protect their financial interests at the public’s expense.
“I would say to the American people that we hear you, that poll after poll shows that clean energy is popular, that the American people understand the need for us to transition to clean energy,” Jackson said in an exclusive interview with The Hill Thursday at EPA headquarters.
“They want to know that government is working to protect them and their futures, not any individualized special interests, not one sector, not the petroleum sector, not coal, but the American people and their jobs and their future,” she said.
A transcript and video excerpts of the interview will be posted soon on The Hill’s website.
Jackson’s comments come as an array of industry groups are challenging EPA’s authority to regulate heat-trapping emissions in court.
Groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and the National Mining Association are also pushing legislation to delay the mandates that could face a Senate vote this year.
Jackson lambasted “doomsday” claims about the economic costs of curbing emissions, and efforts to “confuse people” on climate science.
“There are people who would like to defend the status quo because they make money that way. I don’t think it is anyone in Congress. I think it is lobbying groups who represent big interests and the move to clean energy is something that they would prefer not to see this country undertake,” Jackson said.
Jackson, in the interview and an op-ed in The Hill, is also stressing that climate rules would join a long list of Clean Air Act programs that have provided gains that far outweigh the costs. She noted that Clean Air Act programs have led to massive health benefits and show $40 in total benefits for every $1 invested.
“Industry lobbyists have a long and storied history of doomsday scenarios about what EPA actions would mean across the countryside. They have never proven true,” Jackson said, later adding, “All the history and the facts are on the side that this can be done. All the scare tactics are on the side of industry lobbyists.”