EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Is Stepping Down

The administrator frequently battled with Republicans and industry.

Posted: 12/27/2012 11:48 AM EST

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson announced Thursday morning that she is leaving the administration in January. Jackson, who aggressively pushed sweeping air and water pollution controls during her tenure, has not said what she will do next.

"I will leave the EPA confident the ship is sailing in the right direction, and ready in my own life for new challenges, time with my family and new opportunities to make a difference," she said in a statement announcing her departure.

As the Associated Press reports, Jackson frequently battled congressional Republicans and industry over such issues as global warming, air pollution regulations and the Keystone XL Pipeline. Recently GOP lawmakers accused her of using private email addresses or pseudonyms to conduct official business to avoid public scrutiny.

President Obama praised Jackson's record as head of the agency.

"Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution," the president said in a statement.

Jackson's departure leaves the administration with just one African-American cabinet member, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced in November that he will stay on for another year.

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(Photo: AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File)

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