Lisa P. Jackson, President-elect Obama’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, testified yesterday at her confirmation hearing before members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that “if I am confirmed, political appointees will not compromise the integrity of EPA’s technical experts to advance particular regulatory outcomes.”

Bush administration regulatory departments, including EPA and OSHA, have been criticized by environmentalists, labor groups, Democrats and even some Republicans of placing political loyalty above technical expertise.

Said Jackson: “President-elect Obama has affirmed two core values that he expects EPA to uphold during his administration: scientific integrity and the rule of law. He has also made it clear we will operate with unparalleled transparency and openness. I pledge to uphold those values.

“I will administer with science as my guide. I understand that the laws leave room for policy-makers to make policy judgments.

“The President-elect strongly believes responsible stewardship of our air and water can live side-by-side with robust economic growth. Done properly, these goals can and should reinforce each other.

“The President-elect’s environmental initiatives are highlighted by five key objectives: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions; reducing other air pollutants; addressing toxic chemicals; cleaning up hazardous-waste sites; and protecting water.

“As one who has spent 21 years of my career in government service working to protect public health and the environment, I can think of no higher calling than to be asked to serve as EPA Administrator. It would be a particularly special privilege to head the agency where I worked as a career employee for 15 of those 21 years.

“I joined EPA in 1987 as a staff engineer. Two years later, I moved to the agency’s Region 2 office in New York, where I served as a project manager for hazardous waste sites. I worked my way up through the EPA ranks. In 2002, I moved to state government. On Mardi Gras Day in 2006, in honor of my beloved native New Orleans, Governor Jon Corzine swore me in as Commissioner of the New Jersey DEP, where I managed an agency of 3,400 dedicated public servants.”