When Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed the Powershift crowd on Saturday, she was well received. So were her many hecklers.
While nearly 10,000 environmental activists appreciated the 40 years worth of legislation Jackson outlined, they weren’t about to miss their chance to make their voices heard to a politician who they knew was listening and who they knew had the ability to affect change.
Jackson began the speech by describing the energy she’s had since day one on the job. She then listed some of her successes, including the clean up in the Gulf.
Students and activists from the area jeered at the statement and started shouting at her to provide real help. A group opposed to hydrofracking stood at the front of the stage holding signs and wearing gas masks.
The crowd didn’t only cheer for the hecklers, they gave them a standing ovation and joined in the chants. Jackson briefly acknowledge their presence, motioned for silence, and went on with the speech.
Alex Lotorto, who held a sign and asked the crowd to join in, said that he and his friends acted in protest. “She’s not doing enough on fracking,” he said.
Jackson also fields constant attacks from the right. Many Republicans have made it a goal to defund the EPA on the grounds that regulations are bad for business.
House Republicans tried to cripple the EPA with riders in the recent budget deal that were ultimately stripped from the final version of the bill. They also passed a bill that explicitly called global warming a hoax. And they’re not nearly done.
More budget deals need to be made, like the one coming in July to raise the debt ceiling. And Republicans will probably use the opportunity to attack the EPA yet again.
Jackson cited many polls to portray the average American as a climate change believer concerned about pollution. Republicans, she said, were concerned about neither.
Even if it seems like Jackson has few friends thanks to her position, she had at least 9,500 on Facebook at the start of her speech. Before the night was over, she had a hundred more, a disappointing result considering she aimed to break 10,000.