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Obama announced energy and environmental policy makers 

12/15/08 by Colby Marshall, Eastern Oregon office director for Congressman Greg Walden

Hello everyone today President-elect Obama announced the policy makers of his Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (the White House department which oversee the National Environmental Policy Act) and the White House energy and climate policy position.  The Secretaries for Interior and Agriculture Departments were not announced.  Below are the names of the individuals slated for Senate confirmation and background on each person the before mentioned positions (background information came from past Energy and Environment Daily write-ups):

White House Energy and Climate Policy Leader - President Bill Clinton's EPA administrator, Carol Browner, who is helping guide energy and environmental issues for the Obama transition, will take the White House energy and climate oversight position.  Browner led President Clinton's EPA from 1993 until 2001, making her the longest-serving administrator in the agency's history. During her tenure, EPA strengthened particulate matter and ozone standards. After leaving EPA, she became a principal at the Albright Group LLC, the consulting firm led by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and sat on boards including that of the National Audubon Society.  Before coming to EPA, Browner was secretary of Florida's Department of Environmental Regulation in the early 1990s, and before that, she was an aide to former Florida Sen. Lawton Chiles (D) and as legislative director for Al Gore when he was in the Senate.  Browner, a south Florida native, earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida.

Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman - Nancy Sutley, the Los Angeles deputy mayor for energy and environment, has been tapped to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  During the Democratic primaries, Sutley was on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender steering committee. She is the first prominent member of the gay and lesbian community Obama has named to a top administration post.  Sutley also serves on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a consortium of 26 cities and water districts that provide drinking water to nearly 18 million people throughout six counties in Southern California.  From 2003 to 2005, she served on the California State Water Resources Control Board, which is responsible for protecting water quality and resources throughout California. During her tenure, the five-member board developed statewide water protection plans, established water quality standards, and implemented state and federal water quality laws.  Sutley served as Gov. Gray Davis' energy adviser from 2002 to 2003, managing state and federal regulatory, legislative, financial, and press matters for the Democrat. She also served as the deputy secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations within the California Environmental Protection Agency from 1999 to 2003, where she advised on water and air pollution policy, lobbied federal agencies and Congress, and established budget and legislative priorities.  During the Clinton administration, Sutley was a senior policy adviser to the EPA regional administrator in San Francisco and a special assistant to the administrator at EPA headquarters in Washington.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator - Lisa Jackson, the former chief of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has been tasked with leading EPA.  Jackson has earned a reputation as a hard-working consensus builder during her tenure overseeing New Jersey's notorious pollution problems. State officials and environmentalists are for the most part singing praise for her and say she is easily the best candidate to revitalize EPA.  But Lisa Jackson's mixed record of environmental regulation in New Jersey has also drawn the ire of many other activists. And the department she previously headed has been routinely slapped with criticism from national green groups and federal regulators, meaning Jackson could be shaping up to become one of Obama's more controversial Cabinet choices.  Jackson, who served for two-and-a-half years as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) before resigning to become chief of staff to Gov. Jon Corzine (D), was in charge at a time when critics say DEP's oversight of the state's vast pollution problems slipped badly. The federal government is in the process of stripping 14 of the nation's worst Superfund sites from DEP control after a damning review over the summer cited unreasonable delays and mismanagement.  Jackson's DEP did level stiff fines on Shell Oil Co. and land developer EnCap Investments LP for pollution problems and delays in remediation. But earlier this year an EPA Inspector General's report said DEP routinely failed to enforce laws already on the books, resulting in Superfund cleanups that have lagged for decades. The same report recommended that 14 sites under DEP control be handled instead by EPA's Region 2 office in New York.  One of the low points in Jackson's time at DEP came back in 2006 shortly after she assumed the post, when a Kiddie Kollege daycare facility was found inside a building that once housed a thermometer factory, exposing young toddlers there to indoor mercury levels around 3,000 times the normal exposure.

Department of Energy Secretary - Dr. Steven Chu, the current director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics and has headed the lab since 2004.  Chu has undergraduate degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Rochester and a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.  According to the lab's Web site, Chu has "guided Berkeley Lab on a new mission to become the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy."


Colby Marshall
Eastern Oregon Office Director 
Congressman Greg Walden (OR-02)

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