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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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These revelations were followed by Congressional inquiries into whether the agency was improperly influenced by the White House in rulings ranging from ground-level ozone standards to tailpipe emissions.

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Many environmentalists are cheered by the prospect of a Jackson-led EPA. The environmental advocacy group Environment New Jersey praised the New Orleans native, calling her selection "180-degree turnaround for the United States on the environment."

But other environmental groups have not been so approving. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a resource for government whistle-blowers, sent out a harshly critical press release calling Jackson’s record "disastrous" and accusing her of taking "highly politicized approach to decisionmaking that resulted in suppression of scientific information, issuance of gag orders, and threats against professional staff members who dared to voice concerns."

If nominated and confirmed, Jackson would be the first black EPA administrator.

Nancy Sutley, Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality

According to its website, the Council on Environmental Quality is a division of the White House that "coordinates federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives."

Ms. Sutley currently serves as Los Angeles's Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment and on the board for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Before that, she served as an EPA administrator under President Clinton and as an energy adviser to California Gov. Gray Davis.

The online eco-mag Grist spoke with many who worked with Sutley, and characterizes her as quiet, reserved, and thorough:

One source said the selection of Sutley sends a message that Obama will not use the CEQ chair as a "cheerleading" position to justify particular environmental stances, as both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush did, but rather as someone who can quickly and deftly handle the already mounting workload of dealing with lengthy reports and other requests for action from a wide spectrum of environmental and business groups.
"She is very good in a bureaucratic setting," said a veteran California environmental official. "If you've got 10 people you need to sit down, and you've got to get something done, she'll get it done."

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