Last Thursday night, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson made an appearance on Comedy Central’s "The Colbert Report” to discuss job creation, the importance of the EPA and Colbert’s childhood pet ingot, Leady.
Jackson defended her position against critics. “Of course we want jobs,” she argued, adding that job growth should occur in a way that "ensures our kids are going be healthy.”
In fact, the EPA toxics regulations could lead "to the creation of 84,500 jobs between now and 2015," says the think tank Economic Policy Institute.
Jackson also brushed off Colbert’s facetious suggestions that burning water is “alternative energy" and “Cleveland could have been powered by the Cuyahoga River!”
However, when comparing the role of the EPA 40 years ago to today, Jackson was serious about the importance of the organization in the future. She specifically pointed out how environmental legislation still has a ways to go, noting that mercury regulations were only recently passed, which Jackson considered a major triumph.
In an interview with “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart last year, before the regulations were put into effect, Jackson discussed the need for mercury standards, arguing “Mercury is a neurotoxin. It destroys our children’s brains before they are born.”
Only a few months later, Jackson’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) were finalized, with the regulations set to be fully implemented by 2016.
Although a review of MATS was announced Friday, EPA officials say it is just "a routine step" with "no impact for standards already set for existing power plants," reported the Associated Press.
Jackson’s commitment to a healthy future for children extends beyond mercury regulations. The EPA recently signed a 5-year commitment between the EPA, USDA, and 1,890 universities and launched the Youth Sustainability Challenge in an effort to involve younger generations in environmental efforts.
When Colbert jokingly asked Jackson why he should care about all environmental issues (since he controls his own climate change in his Audi S5), Jackson reminded him that these regulations are about more than just a comfortable car temperature. “The EPA is actually all about health,” Jackson insisted in the above clip. “If (the air and the water) aren't clean, we can’t have a healthy and safe community.”