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Jackson, from EPA to Princeton?

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s name is among those being floated as possible candidates for the presidency of Princeton, where she got a graduate engineering degree. (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.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

University President Shirley Tilghman (Princeton’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 next spring, the Princetonian reports.

We hear the headhunting panel is still in the “building-a-big-list phase,” so Jackson is no doubt 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, not surprisingly, 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 EPA is Bob Perciasepe, the current deputy administrator, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office under President Bill Clinton.

And speaking of possible Cabinet moves, everyone in enviroland believes that 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 with a new secretary now rather than, say, a year from now.

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

Meanwhile, Deputy Energy 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 shortlist to replace White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley, who’s getting ready to decamp.

Minnesota nice

Finally. A thank-you e-mail from our pal Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who survived a squeaker reelection battle.

She won “thanks to . . . the generosity of faithful supporters like you,” she said in her e-mail, with the subject line “It’s not about me.”

Well, like all those other fundraising e-mails we got during the campaign, maybe it is. Bachmann said she was “reaching out to my core supporters . . . to make a special year-end gift today.”

If we “fail to stop” the Dems in the lame-duck session, she warned, there’ll be dire consequences. (Actually, the really bad consequences will be what would happen if the D’s and R’s send us over the cliff.)

“The Bush-era tax cuts will expire,” she noted, “and automatically cost the average American family anywhere between $2,000 to $6,000 in extra tax liability per year.”

That’s bad enough, but think what will happen to the poor couple with a kid in college earning a lousy $900,000 a year. They may have to pay a whopping $50,000 more in annual taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center’s tax calculator. (You can play with the numbers and see how it works for you.)

Now, if you add in state and other taxes, you may have to scrape by on a bit more than half a million bucks, around $10,000 a week. You might find yourself sleeping under a bridge with all those moochers.

No way we can allow that. “Won’t you please make your most generous year-end contribution of $50 or more right away?” Bachmann asked.

Check’s in the mail.

Change may be in the cards

Cabinet-stocking rumors are ever swirling. The latest has White House officials chatting up American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault for a possible nomination.

According to Bloomberg News, they might have the executive in mind for Treasury secretary, for commerce secretary or as a senior adviser to the president.

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is still among the top contenders to succeed Timothy Geithner at the Treasury helm. But, according to Bloomberg, “consideration of Chenault among President Obama’s staff may indicate the president hasn’t made a final decision on a replacement.”

Chenault is no stranger to the administration. He serves on Obama’s jobs advisory panel, and he’s attended a state dinner at the White House.

With Emily Heil

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