Calling a new energy frontier a “leading priority of my presidency,” President-elect Barack Obama, as expected, on Monday afternoon in Chicago named the four key members of his cabinet that will make up America’s next green team: Steven Chu as Energy Secretary, Carol Browner as Climate Czar, Lisa Jackson as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and Nancy Sutley as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
Many will be unfamiliar with the new team members, but rest assured that together they bring a considerable amount of experience from various levels of government and represent a major change from the efforts of the current administration when it comes to climate change and the environment. Chu, a physicist who has headed up Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the past four years, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for creating technology to cool and trap atoms with lasers; Browner was the former administrator of the EPA under President Clinton; Jackson is the former head of New Jersey’s environmental agency, and Sutley is the Los Angeles deputy mayor for energy and the environment.
As Obama announced the team, he also reiterated his belief that environmentally sound policies and solid economic ones do not contradict one another, and that a new energy economy is going to help stimulate the economy and create jobs (green stimulus?). He was specifically asked if he would allow California to regulate greenhouse gases, and if he would allow the offshore drilling moratorium to lapse. He said that California has consistently hit the bar on energy issues, while the rest of the nation has followed; he also said he didn’t want to let the offshore drilling ban slide, unless it’s part of a larger energy strategy.