Perhaps there’s hope for Lisa Jackson yet. At the conclusion of her Iowa farm tour Tuesday, the embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief repeatedly praised the productivity and conservation efforts of the farmers she met.
Jackson also announced she has no immediate plans to regulate farm runoff in the Upper Mississippi River Basin the way her agency is doing in the Chesapeake Bay region. “I’m ruling out the need for us to move directly to a regulatory mechanism when we have folks stepping up … to do the conservation measures on their own,” she told reporters.
Jackson downplayed a disagreement between her agency and the Agriculture Department over the extent of the runoff problem in the Chesapeake. “We were modeling slightly different things,” she said, adding that in some areas of the Chesapeake municipal and suburban runoff is a bigger issue than farm runoff.
But Jackson—a lightning rod for criticism among agricultural interests—also said Iowa farmers aren’t completely opposed to additional EPA regulation of their industry. “No one person said, ‘Take EPA away,’” she said. “They want regulations to make sense.”
But that's the rub, isn't it?