Obama's choices for EPA and Energy Secretary

Steven Chu, a physicist, will be energy secretary. Lisa P. Jackson, from New Jersey environmental protection will head the E.P.A.-

Story from the New York Times. Obama Team Set on Environment. By John M. Broder.

Carol Browner, head of the EPA under Clinton may get the new climate post.

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Nancy Sutley will head the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) inside the Executive Office of the President. Story on Sutley. “Mind your CEQ.” Posted by Janet Wilson to Gristmill. The CEQ is a position that does not need congressional approval.

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My stray comment . . . could you imagine a real scientist, in fact a n0bel prize winner, heading up a cabinet department in the Bush Administration? RM






  1. JimT Avatar

    NYTimes headline speaks volumes once again about the ignoring of the West and its natural resource and ecosystem management issues. I guess “environment” to the East coast only means the pollution and energy issues; Interior and its component agencies don’t count as “environmental”? And where does Chu and the rest of the gang think the energy is going to come from..West Virginia and Pennsylvania?

    Folks, I am beginning to get that same old twitch..the West doesn’t matter to DC folks unless it is election time. I am hoping I am wrong. I am hoping that all the confusion regarding Interior and Agriculture is a deliberate smokescreen to tweak the media; I am hoping it is not reflective of the inner thought processes of the transition team and the Obama insiders. Sigh. Hayes would be great, as would Grijalva…Maybe the wait will be worth it. I am still trusting Obama to make good on his rhetoric. Looks like next week, we will find out.

  2. vickif Avatar

    Maybe the world, or atleast the USA government, doesn’t see the need in the West? Maybe the have fallen victim to the hype of the travel and tourism messages, come see the old west, yada yada.

    The old west isn’t the real west. So how, once we have all the appointees in place, do we get them to deal with the desperately needy west? How do we get that attention amidst all the down hill momentum to change autos and build greener houses?

    I am psyched about Chu, a real scientist. WOW. What a revalation-a scientist to lead a science based organization….no, Bush wouldn’t have thought of that.

  3. April Clauson Avatar
    April Clauson

    From the article I get the impression he has made some very good choices. The climate and energy issues he needs to address is world wide, all of USA, not just the West..and he still has a few more choices to make to round it up. Give the man a chance and remember compromise’s will have to be made that not all will like, unfortunately, we can not get the cake and eat the whole thing, we will get some big slices though!

  4. jdubya Avatar

    Ralph, sure I could see a real scientist in the Bush cabinet. A healthy diet of prozac can make almost any situation tolerable.

    These are great people choices from Obama. The environment is not a “western” phenom. Controlling eastern acid rain from midwestern coal burning power plants has been a major accomplishment for east coast environmentalists: many “dead” streams are now well fortified with invertebrates and juicy trout. Name me a example of westerners that has had the same positive environmental impact.

  5. Jim Macdonald Avatar

    The largest part of the Department of Energy has to do with nukes and nuclear power. I don’t think a lot of people realize that. In many ways, a great deal of the budget is a hidden cost of the overall country’s defense budget.

    What the Department of Energy can do to undermine its largest cash cow will be more telling than whether it’s being run by a scientist or not.

    I think one thing to look at is whether the Department of Energy pushes the nonsense that is hydrogen power, which if it comes from DOE, is a code word for more nuclear power since that is the only truly viable way to get hydrogen power (as a byproduct of nuclear power).

  6. JimT Avatar

    His choices for the pollution and energy end of things are good. I just think the order in which the appointments are coming reflect the old biases of what is important to the DC folks, and having worked there for many years, I can tell youj that for most of them EPA and DOE are IT when it comes to environmental issues. The West is “out there” somewhere and great to take a vacation in…

    . I think what is needed is an overhaul of the legal and regulatory framework into an ecological approach instead of medium-based approach from the 70s. Chances of doing it? Slim and none, sadly. Just look at what is happening to the whole issue of energy development vs. adaptive ecosystem issues and the umbrella of global climate change. Non profit ED’s will tell you currently it is very very difficult to find foundation grants that integrate the two concepts, as must happen in any science/ecological analysis. For something like the sage grouse, it matters little if the habitat is disturbed by oil derricks , or the bases of huge wind turbines; the immediate incursion effect is the same on breeding and healthy popluation growth. We need to get the conversation away from “just energy, all day, all the time”, and back on track to considering species and habitat when these decisions are made, alternative energy or traditional fossil.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan