And this recently came in from the 2012 Rankings of The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government: In the category of Agency subcomponents, i.e. distinct offices/divisions within agencies that are headed by a Senate-confirmed political appointee (usually at the level of an Assistant Secretary): . . . . drum-roll . . . .
#3. Office of General Counsel of the EPA
#4. Environment and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice
These are 2 entities within the federal government that employ a very large number of very talented and highly motivated environmental lawyers and provide a great deal of very interesting work. Both are places that I have worked at and that in my own estimation fully deserve those high rankings.
EPA OGC reports a workplace satisfaction/commitment index score of 81.6. DOJ's Environment Division reports an index score of 80.9. According to the survey's explanation, "the index score measures the performance of agencies and agency subcomponents related to employee satisfaction and commitment." So there you have it . . . environmental lawyers are pretty happy with their jobs in the federal government. Could it also mean that environmental lawyers working for the federal government are happier than their private sector counterparts? That you'll have to decide for yourself.
But wait . . . there is, strangely, the low ranking of the Office of the Solicitor in the Department of Interior, the counterpart to the EPA Office of General Counsel. (If it's not understood by readers, the Department of Interior handles most of the federal government's natural resources, lands, and wildlife-related legal work, while EPA focuses on the pollution issues.) According to the 2012 Rankings, the DOI Solicitor's Office unfortunately ranks at 204 with a 58.9 index number. What a shocker! I am not sure what accounts for that low number since DOI's work should also be very interesting for environmental lawyers.
Anyway, EPA OGC's high ranking may not be surprising in light of the overall high ranking of EPA as a federal agency. Among all large federal agencies, EPA ranks 5th, with an agency-wide index # of 67.6.
So . . . hoorray for EPA, EPA-OGC, and DOJ-ENRD. Great kudos to Administrator Lisa Jackson and General Counsel Scott Fulton for keeping their staff motivated and satisfied with their work and mission.
For a link to that 2012 Ranking, see here: http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/overall/sub
Also, a few days ago, Professor Holly Doremus wrote on Berkeley's LegalPlanet blog about the recent announcement that Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, will leave her position at the end of February. Link here: http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/jane-lubchenco-to-leave-noaa/
It will be a loss for NOAA, but it seems in line with other departure announcements or speculations about senior Obama Administration officials. Of course, there has been plenty of speculation about EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's status by the Washington Post. I have no more specific information, though I did ask her when she was at Santa Clara University back in late October and when she met with some of our law students. (Santa Clara Law's student newspaper ran a story on Administrator Jackson's visit, which I'll post separately.)