Later today President-elect Obama will introduce the team that will lead the development and implementation of the country’s energy and environmental policies for the next four years. The names released so far indicate that major shifts in US environmental and energy leadership are in the offing.
The senior White House coordinator of energy and environmental policy will be Carol Browner, who ran the EPA during the Clinton administration. Lisa Jackson, who was New Jersey’s top environmental officer, will run the EPA. Nancy Sutley, who has the top environmental job in Los Angles, will head the White House Council on Environmental Policy.
The most interesting pick is Steven Chu, the Nobel-winning Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and one of the country’s leading advocates for reducing emissions and for the development of sustainable forms of energy. While at LBNL he redirected much of the lab’s efforts towards working on energy and environmental problems. The New York Times has already editorialized that “he has a sophisticated grasp of the complexities of global warming and a strong belief in fighting it aggressively.”
While the scope of Browner’s White House job is still under discussion, it is expected that she would coordinate administration policies across departmental lines and be the chief advocate for energy and environmental legislation. The position is already being called the “Energy Czar.”
Thus far, the prospective appointments have been well received in many parts of the political spectrum with the League of Conservation Voters calling the group a “green dream team.” The oil industry will likely be unhappy with the proposed team, based on recent comments.