EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is interviewed by The Associated Press, Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at EPA Headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)
HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - The Environmental Protection Agency administrator announced her resignation Thursday leaving many in eastern Kentucky wondering who will take Lisa Jackson's place, and if that means change for the struggling coal industry.
Lisa Jackson has served as EPA administrator for almost four years and pushed for stronger regulations, but that was met with resistance from some lawmakers in eastern Kentucky.
"What I said when I heard it this morning was hallelujah. It's about time she left the picture," said Congressman Hal Rogers.
He says Lisa Jackson has harmed the American economy.
The president of the Kentucky Coal Association says more than 3,000 coal mining jobs were lost just this year in eastern Kentucky.
Bill Bissett says, "One of the biggest negative effects to damage eastern Kentucky coal production was Lisa Jackson."
Those with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth say that's simply not true.
"The action of the EPA is a distant third in contributing to those things," said Roy Silver.
He says the downturn in the coal industry can be attributed to low natural gas prices and a bad economy.
He adds the "war on coal" campaign has been "detrimental to exploring economic diversity in our region."
But even with Jackson's resignation Congressman Rogers and other industry officials say change is not something they expect to see soon
"We need someone who understands the importance of coal to the economy and that will lower electric bills, but I'm not very optimistic that this president will appoint someone that understands that," said Congressman Rogers.
Lisa Jackson said in a statement that "she leaves confident the ship is sailing in the right direction."
President Obama said, "She has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.
Those we spoke to with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth say they hope Jackson's successor follows in her footsteps.
"You do need someone in there that will be an advocate for people's health and the environment," said Silver.
Lisa Jackson will officially step down in January.