We recently told you about the prospective election of Lisa Jackson to head the Environmental Protection Agency. The Senate has now approved Jackson for the position of administrator. Jackson, who holds a chemical engineering degree from Princeton, is the first African-American to head the EPA. Jackson worked for the EPA for 19 years before becoming commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2006.

After her confirmation, Jackson notified all EPA employees of President Obama’s expectations and goals for the organization, including working to clean up toxic sites throughout the US.

Contamination from the former W.R. Grace mines in Libby, Montana, has left numerous residents of the community with asbestos-related diseases, and their medical options are running out. Senator Baucus, a longtime advocate for helping the people of Libby, is hopeful that Jackson will be able to declare the town a “public health emergency,” which will allow for federal help with the medical needs of its residents.

It is well documented that deaths from mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are far above normal in the town of Libby. Funds from previous health programs are beginning to grow thin, and the town has reached out to state officials to allocate more for these programs in the new budget. Hopefully the announcement and induction of Lisa Jackson into the EPA will bring new funds and solutions to the people of Libby and hope for a better environment worldwide.