Obama's green team
At a news conference in Chicago Monday, Barack Obama announced many of his energy and environment appointees, a team that many say signals a sharp break from Bush administration policies toward pollution, wildlife, clean energy, and climate change.
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This role is probably an outgrowth of a February 2008 proposal by the Center for American Progress, which called for a White House-level advisor to coordinate energy-related federal agencies as well as "outreach with states, localities, and the private sector, and U.S. leadership and partnership in international efforts to reduce global emissions." The Center for American Progress was founded by former Clinton chief-of-staff John Podesta, who also co-chairs Obama's transition team.Skip to next paragraph
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The position was quickly dubbed by the media as "energy czar," a term that the Obama team reportedly dislikes.
Ms. Browner, a former adviser to Sen. Al Gore, served as head of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1993 to 2001. Since then, she has worked for the Albright Group, a "global strategy firm" headed by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that helps corporations do business internationally. Browner is also the chair of the National Audubon Society.
Browner's husband, former New York Rep. Tom Downey, has lobbied on behalf of some of the world's largest polluters, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron.
Working under Browner as Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change will be Heather Zichal. Ms. Zichal served as the Policy Director for Energy, Environment, and Agriculture for Obama's presidential campaign, and in 2004 drafted John Kerry's energy and environment policies.
Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator
The Environmental Protection Agency is not a cabinet department, but the 17,000-employee agency's head is considered to have a cabinet-level position.
Ms. Jackson, a former EPA scientist who from 2006 until this month ran New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection, has her work cut out for her. Many observers say that the agency has become demoralized under the current administrator, Stephen Johnson. In February, 19 union leaders representing about 10,000 EPA employees sent a letter to Johnson claiming that he had repeatedly violated the agency's standards of scientific integrity. In April, the Union of Concerned Scientists released the result of a survey that found that 889 of 1,586 staff scientists at the EPA reported that they have experienced political interference in their work in the past five years.