Biden’s Green Team
Here are the six who will lead the way on environment and energy issues.
Biden’s choices to head particular agencies have trickled out over the past few weeks. It’s only when you put them together that you get a sense of the overall time. It’s a very diverse group, all of whom seem to have strong environmental commitments.
Pete Buttigieg, Department of Transportation. Buttigieg is a well-known figure from his run last year for the Democratic nomination. Transportation is a major source of carbon emissions,and Buttigieg will be the key player in addressing that issue.
Deb Haaland, Department of Interior. Haaland is a member of the House and Vice Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources. She’ll be the first Native American to hold that position, which is important because of the Department’s role in Indian affairs. Haaland has a 97% score from the League of Conservation voters.
Jennifer Granholm, Department of Energy. Granholm, a former governor of Michigan, has been at Berkeley since 2011, working on renewable energy issues. Three-quarters of DOE’s budget goes to the care and feeding of nuclear weapons. The remainder includes a lot of energy research, including DOE’s system of national laboratories. DOE also has some funding for development to take innovations to market.
Gina McCarthy, White House climate czar. McCarthy definitely knowls the ropes from her time as head of EPA. One of her assignments will be to shepherd new regulations through the White House review process.
Brenda Mallory, Council on Environmental Quality. Mallory, a former legal counsel for CEQ, will undoubtedly start by revisiting the Trump Administration’s revisions of standards for environmental impact statements. Not surprisingly, those standards discouraged consideration of climate impacts. CEQ has been marginalized in terms of environmental policy, but Mallory may be able to give it greater prominence as a policy coordinator.
Michael Regan, EPA. Regan does not have as much experience with climate change regulation as another contender, Mary Nichols from California. He does, however, have a long track record, first as an EPA staffer under Clinton and Bush, then with the Environmental Defense Fund, and most recently as the head of North Carolina’s environmental agency. He’ll be a sharp contrast with Trump’s EPA directors — an anti-environmental state attorney general and a former coal lobbyist.
Of course, before they can start work, everyone except McCarthy and Mallory will have to clear Senate confirmation. We’ll see how that process goes.