There’s a nice biographical sketch about Lisa Jackson, Obama’s head of EPA, here at, discussing how her background helps with approaching environmental justice issues, among other aspects of her history.

The article points out something else about Lisa Jackson:  she’s got a background in chemistry/chemical engineering. Also, she is not an attorney, and in my view this is a good thing.

Just as our Surgeon General is a physician, and not an attorney, our environmental efforts should be guided by people who understand the fundamentals of the science, not attorneys. Science and engineering types can readily understand the laws and regulations, but the converse is not true: attorneys with liberal arts backgrounds cannot readily understand the science and engineering concepts that are important for effective pollution control and other important responsibilities. They basically have not burned enough midnight oil in that regard.