I felt Jackson’s genuine sincerity and determination to protect America’s environment and move toward the president’s vision of a clean energy future during our hour-long conversation. Right now, she’s closely watching the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES). Jackson explains if the bill passes in the House and Senate, it will help jump start the environmental initiatives and job training programs the president has pledged to fund in the Recovery Act, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, one million Plug-In Hybrid Cars on the roads by 2015, and creating millions of green jobs. She plans to testify on the bill on Earth Day, April 22nd.
“The president’s leadership is what’s going to get this down. He continually says the way out of our current economic crisis is this green economy,” says Jackson. “And that’s some place this country really hasn’t been before; when a President says that environmental issues aren’t the problem but they’re actually the solution. We’ve never seen that.”
Jackson is proud that EPA will help to create green jobs—from air pollution control jobs, to water plant upgrades, to diesel pollution jobs retrofitting city and school buses, to weatherization of roofs and solar panels in homes. She says these jobs will not only need green-collar workers but also scientists, engineers and business consultants to get the work done. She also plans to work closely with the U.S. Department of Labor to make sure all entrepreneurs and small business owners, regardless of race, are given fair access to business opportunities.
I’m personally excited to cover this beat and see how all Americans, including myself, will benefit from endless green opportunities and investments while simultaneously saving our planet.
“I tell people all the time that you don’t have to be from some beautiful place to appreciate the environment,” says Jackson. “You just have to realize the environment is the air you breathe and the water that comes out of your bath.”
For more insight from the administrator’s interview, check out Earth Day and environment and energy coverage on our Website and in the August 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.
Annya Lott is Careers Editor for Black Enterprise magazine.