With all the heat generated by the nominations for the Secretaries of State and Defense, it is easy to overlook that President Obama must make nominations for four agencies critical to environmental policy: EPA, Interior, Energy, and USTR. And it says something that there do not seem to be obvious, strong candidates that environmentalists can support for these posts.
Consider Interior, for example. Most of the speculation now centers on outgoing Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire. I have nothing against Gregoire, and many of the most successful Interior Secretaries have been western governors — Cecil Andrus and Bruce Babbitt come to mind. But I don’t see anything in her record to indicate that she would bring real leadership to the Department except that 1) she is a western Governor; and 2) she is female, and Obama is getting criticized for inadequate Cabinet diversity. (And this consideration will be even stronger because of the departures of African-Americans Lisa Jackson from EPA and Ron Kirk from USTR, and Asian-American Steven Chu from Energy.). One person who might fit the bill, and whom I would really like to see at Energy is Arunava Majumdar, a distinguished energy engineer who formerly ran the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA – E), and whom Obama had tapped for Undersecretary until Senator Rand Paul (R – Romper Room) decided to have a tantrum and put the nomination on hold.
We don’t seem to be hearing a groundswell for any candidates in any of these posts, and I can’t help wondering whether says something about the relative weakness of the environmental movement. So now is the time for all good Legal Planet readers to come to the aid of their country!
Whom would you like to see in these posts and why? We can build the movement and dominate the preferences of our close circle of friends! You have to start somewhere…