Monday, January 12, 2009

Hearings for NJ, PA environmental regulators

Lisa Jackson's confirmation may travel a smooth path, John Hager's a rocky road.

President-elect Barack Obama wants the U.S. Senate to confirm his nomination of New Jersey's former DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Governor Ed Rendell wants the senate in the Keystone State to confirm his nomination of John Hanger as secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection.

Jackson will get her Senate hearing this week in Washington and is expected to be confirmed without much difficulty. She has the support of the state's two U.S. Senators, the governor, and all of New Jersey's major environmental organizations.

Jackson is likely to face some questions about her performance at the DEP, however, based on allegations made by several former department employees and the leader of a wetlands organization in Edison that she wasn't tough enough on enforcement issues.

Hanger, a former state PUC commissioner, was nominated by Rendell, a Democrat, in August and has been serving as Acting DEP Secretary while waiting for the Senate to consider his nomination. He will make his case for the position before the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee at a date expected to be announced soon.

His road to confirmation is likely to be far rockier than his former environmental colleague on the opposite side of the Delaware.

That's due to the fact that, after leaving the PUC, Hanger served as an aggressive advocate on environmental issues for the statewide organization, Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (Penn Future).

In that role, he didn't win many friends in the business community and crossed swords, more than occasionally, with several legislators. The most notable of them happens to be Mary Jo White, the powerful Republican chairwoman of the committee that now controls the future of his nomination.

When asked by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about his prospects, Hanger said:

"I don't hold grudges. I respect those who come into the public arena and fiercely make their points. That's what democracy is all about."
Do Senator White and her Republican colleagues share the same philosophy?

Time will tell.

Jackson's EPA bid has support of many state environmentalists
Ten Questions the Senate Should Ask Lisa Jackson
NJ Sierra Club - Lisa Jackson Great Choice to Lead EPA

Environment New Jersey Hails Obama’s Historic Pick
Daily Kos weighs in on Jackson-EPA debate
NJ's Lisa Jackson may get top EPA job

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