In a brief announcement Monday morning, President Obama formally named his picks to fill cabinet positions heading up the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Management and Budget.
After first praising departing DOE head Steven Chu, the president named MIT physicist Ernest Moniz to carry on work at the DOE to develop new energy technologies and carry on the president’s stated All of the Above energy strategy.
“Most importantly,” Obama said, “Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still protecting our air and climate.”
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said Moniz was a “sensible choice” as Energy secretary.
“In nominating Ernie Moniz to be Secretary of Energy, President Obama has sent America a strong message that its energy leadership will be entrusted to an advocate of clean energy supplies, including nuclear energy,” said NEI President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin Fertel. “Dr. Moniz is experienced and well respected in the energy, nonproliferation and national security communities worldwide. He has made it clear that he recognizes nuclear energy's important role in reducing greenhouse gases as part of a balanced, low-carbon electricity generation portfolio.”
Before naming Gina McCarthy to head up the EPA, the president gave special attention to the work of her predecessor, departing EPA chief Lisa Jackson, in combating climate change. Obama highlighted McCarthy’s Boston roots; she once worked as an environmental advisor to then-governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
“She has earned a reputation as a straight shooter, she welcomes different points of view, and I’m confident she’ll do an outstanding job leading the EPA.”
Obama said his two choices would ensure “that we’re doing everything we can to combat the threat of climate change.”
A coalition of organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Fund, the U.S. Climate Action Network and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, all gave praise for McCarthy’s nomination.
“In Gina McCarthy, the President has made another outstanding choice to lead the EPA as it continues to work to protect our air, our water and out climate,” the groups said in a joint statement. “McCarthy’s nomination reinforces President Obama’s intention to adopt scientific solutions to public health, environmental and climate challenges.”
Kevin Crapsey, vice president of Corporate Strategy and Development with Eco Power Solutions, a provider of multi-pollutant emissions control technology, also backed McCarthy's nomination.
"Most of our senior management has experience with Gina McCarthy at the state level and found her to be tough on emissions but fair to the indsutry," Crapsey said. "We expect that she will continue to seek that balance as EPA administrator.
"McCarthy's EPA can lead the effort to address climate change with a minimal impact on electricity consumers with realistic timelines for impacted industries and incentives for reducing emissions."
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Administration, released a statement congratulating both Moniz and McCarthy on their nominations.
"SEIA looks forward to working with the EPA and DOE to work towards the Obama Administration's goals to achieve energy independence, create clean energy jobs, fight climate change and ignite economic growth," Resch said.
The president also named Wal-Mart Foundation president Sylvia Matthews Burwell as his pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
The president closed with a brief reference to the budget cuts now going into place as a result of breakdown in negotiations on the Hill over the sequester. He added of his cabinet picks, “I hope the senate will confirm them as soon as possible, because we’ve got a lot of work to do and we cannot afford delay.”
The president said the first cabinet meeting of his second term would take place Monday afternoon.
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