The UK's Guardian newspaper conducted a far-ranging interview with Lisa Jackson, chief administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency since 2009, on energy, climate change and the battle in the media over the agency's work.
Money quote on coal:
And the president invested in carbon capture and sequestration technology as part of the Recovery Act. He said all along, I'm from a coal state, so I believe that if there's going to be a future for coal it has to be one that deals with carbon pollution, with climate change. So in my opinion the problem for coal right now is entirely economic. The natural gas that this country has and is continuing to develop is cheaper right now on average. And so people who are making investment decisions are not unmindful of that — how could you expect them to be? It just happens that at the same time, these rules are coming in place that make it clear that you cannot continue to operate a 30-, 40-, or 50-year old plant and not control the pollution that comes with it.
Money quote on media:
So whether it's climate change and the myriad reports about that, whether it's people in rural America who've been told all manner of untruths about the work we're doing — whether it's that we're going to regulate farm dust further, or that we're going to regulate spilled milk, no matter how many times we say it, because their main sources of information are not really being truthful in how they're giving them information, we spend an awful lot of time trying to explain to people what we're really doing. And it's not just on the environmental front, but that's emblematic of how folks have learned to use this new media world.