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Apple Hires Former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson

Apple has hired former US EPA chief Lisa Jackson to head up the tech company’s environmental efforts.

CEO Tim Cook made the announcement yesterday in an interview with All Things D co-executive editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the D: All Things Digital conference.

Jackson’s official title will be vice president for environmental initiatives. She will coordinate environmental practices, likely including a focus on the company’s manufacturing and its products, reports All Things D.

Jackson left her post at the EPA at the end of 2012 after a four-year tenure marked by battles with industry groups opposed to her proposed environmental regulations and amid a secretive email scandal, in which she admitted conducting official EPA business under a false email alias.

Under Jackson’s leadership, the EPA has made a number of controversial decisions criticized by industry groups representing power plants, refineries and manufacturing companies, which said her proposals would hurt the economy and lead to job losses. For example, a special interest-funded analysis released in October found seven EPA regulations would negatively impact the coal-based electricity industry and reduce US employment by 1.5 million jobs over the next four years.

Apple also has been criticized over the years, not by industry groups, but by Greenpeace and environmental groups for its lack of transparency and powering its data centers with fossil fuels.

However, the tech company has made a reversal of sorts — even garnering praise from Greenpeace — improving its clean energy policies and a making a commitment to power its 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden, NC, entirely with renewable energy by the end of 2012. Apple’s newest data center in Prineville, Ore., will also be powered using locally sourced renewable power.

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