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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 12/19/2012

EPA administrator eyes ivory tower


(Kevin Wolf - AP)
We’ve known that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has been planning her exit from the Cabinet, and now we hear she’s exploring that well-worn path from government officialdom to academia.

Jackson is talking to some university officials, we’re told, and her name is among those being floated as possible candidates for the presidency of Princeton, the institution where she got a graduate engineering degree.

Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman (the school’s first female chief) plans to step down at the end of this academic year; a search committee is still in the midst of its work and is expected to make a recommendation to the university’s trustees this spring, the Princetonian reports.

We hear the head-hunting panel is still in the the “building-a-big-list phase,” so Jackson’s likely in illustrious — and copious — company. (Hey, at least one candidate she won’t have to beat out for the job is former CIA director David Petraeus, who was in the running before his sex scandal.)

An EPA spokeswoman, unsurprisingly, had no comment.

And the ivory tower may not be Jackson’s final destination in her post-Cabinet career — it’s also thought that she has a bright future in New Jersey politics. She’s been mentioned as a possible candidate to run for the seat now held by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), if he were to retire. One likely successor at the helm of EPA is Bob Perciasepe, the agency’s current deputy administrator, who headed EPA’s air and radiation office under President Bill Clinton.

And speaking of possible Cabinet moves: Everyone in enviroland believes Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is leaving. The question is when.

It’s not that they don’t like Salazar — they do.It’s that they fear the dreaded lame duck is going to quack in the not too distant future, and if the enviros are going to get new legislation and regulations approved, it would be best to start now rather than, say, a year from now with a new secretary.

The front-runners for the job still appear to be Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) and retiring Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), who says he doesn’t want it (but if he’s offered, it might be tough to refuse).

Meanwhile, Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes, though mentioned as possibly moving up (and he’s always mentioned as a possible candidate — he’s “the Susan Lucci of the Cabinet,” according to one observer), is said to be on the short list to replace White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley, who’s getting ready to decamp.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 12/19/2012

 
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