Apple hires former EPA Administrator Jackson

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday that the technology giant has hired former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson to head its environmental efforts.

Cook broke the news at the D11 Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif., in an on-stage interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, a technology news outlet that hosts the event.

Cook was touting the company’s environmental record — noting it owns the largest solar energy farm and largest fuel cell of any nonenergy firm — when he referenced Jackson’s hiring.

“She’s going to be coordinating a lot of this activity across the company,” he said, according to a live account of the event by AllThingsD.

Jackson left the EPA in February after serving the Obama administration for four years. 

During her time with the Obama administration, Jackson oversaw the implementation and proposal of several politically divisive air- and water-pollution rules.

Chief among those were stricter vehicle fuel economy standards, mercury and other toxic emissions rules, and proposed rules governing greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

Democrats, green groups and public health advocates praised the regulations rolled out under Jackson’s EPA tenure. They said the rules would help mitigate climate change while also improving public health.

But the rules were often a lightning rod for criticism of President Obama’s economic and environmental policies.

Republicans and industry said the rules were economically burdensome, and amounted to an executive branch power grab. They often directed their disapproval at Jackson, solidifying an adversarial relationship with the EPA.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

This story was updated on May 29 at 10:04 a.m.