EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson resigns

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, who has drawn the ire of oil industry leaders during her four years at the helm, announced Thursday that she will step down from the post.

Jackson, 50, gave no reason for her resignation. In her written statement she said  she plans to spend more time with her family and take on new opportunities. She officially will leave the cabinet position after President Obama’s State of the Union address in January.

The oil industry has charged Jackson’s EPA with overstepping its bounds and initiating policies that cripple the energy businesses.

Read more: Industry analysis pokes holes in EPA hydraulic fracturing study

Jackson defended her tenure at the EPA, saying she leaves “confident the ship is sailing in the right direction.”

Dogged in recent weeks by environmental critics who called for clear climate change policy, Jackson said she has sought to address a variety of issues outlined at the beginning of her tenure.

“I spoke about the need to address climate change,” Jackson said in her statement, “but also said: ‘There is much more on the agenda: air pollution, toxic chemicals and children’s health issues, redevelopment and waste-site cleanup issues, and justice for the communities who bear disproportionate risk.’”

Several names have been thrown out as possible replacements for Jackson, including her deputy, Robert Perciasepe.

President Barack Obama issued a statement praising policies implemented under Jackson’s leadership, including efforts to cut mercury and carbon pollution.

“Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution.”