Obama Launches Auto Emissions Battle - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

lisajacksonAfter receiving the confirmation to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, Lisa Jackson was in the spotlight again on Monday when President Barack Obama requested that the EPA reconsider former President George W. Bush’s decision to bar California from setting auto emission standards at an average fuel efficiency of more than 39 miles per gallon by 2020 for passenger cars. Currently, Congress only requires that cars reach 35 MPG by 2020.

“California has shown bold and bipartisan leadership through its effort to forge 21st century standards, and over a dozen states have followed its lead,” said Obama in remarks before press yesterday.  “But instead of serving as a partner, Washington stood in their way. This refusal to lead risks the creation of a confusing and patchwork set of standards that hurts the environment and the auto industry.”

Under Bush the EPA blocked California’s initiative to increase standards. As director of the EPA in New Jersey, Jackson joined California in a law suit to toughen emission standards. Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and Washington are also prepared to both increase emissions standards in an effort to relieve America’s dependence on imported oil.

Expectations are high for Jackson, 46, who has degrees in chemical engineering from Tulane and Princeton, but not because she is the first African American to head the EPA. Critics say that enforcing California’s emissions standards would further hurt the economy, since automakers would need to design more fuel efficient cars, which could increase manufacturing costs at a time when cars aren’t even being sold.

“Amidst the array of challenges facing his administration, Obama’s actions today send a clear signal to America and the world that his administration will play a leadership role on energy and global warming,” according to a statement by Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Warming Campaign.

Despite her previous support of the California law, it remains to be seen whether Jackson will conform to Obama’s request and allow the interested states to apply more stringent emissions standards. If Jackson consents Obama is placing emissions regulations, which was federally mandated, into the states hands.

Aside from Jackson, Susan Rice was confirmed as the first African American ambassador of the United Nations on Thursday. The confirmation of Eric Holder, the last of Obama’s black, top level cabinet appointees, will be voted on later this week.

Marcia A. Wade is a reporter for BlackEnterprise.com

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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