Time 100 speaks to her influence in Washington and beyond. That Energy Secretary Steven Chu wrote her biographical sketch speaks to Jackson’s role in addressing one of the world’s most pressing issues.
According to Chu, Jackson understands both the risks and opportunities involved in the energy economy. “She takes on her tasks with poise and pragmatism, finding common ground and common-sense solutions,” Chu wrote.
Jackson, a chemical engineer by training, worked at the EPA for 16 years before joining the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2002. She went on to become New Jersey’s commissioner of environmental protection and briefly served as chief of staff for N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine before President Barack Obama selected her to lead the EPA in December 2008.
A native of New Orleans, Jackson traveled to her home state last week to mark the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that led to a catastrophic spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She heads the federal government’s task force to coordinate the long-term environmental restoration in the region.
While Jackson has supported the Obama administration’s limited expansion of oil and gas exploration, she also is an advocate of green solutions like more fuel-efficient vehicles, efficiency in the power used by homes and businesses, and the development of renewable energy sources. “We consume about 25 percent of the world’s oil, and hold just about 2 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves,” she noted in a speech to the Energy Information Administration April 26. “To secure our energy future, we need to come up with better ways to use and produce energy and power our economy.”
Jackson will be back at Princeton this weekend as one of the featured speakers at “She Roars: Celebrating Women at Princeton.”
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