A scientist for the Energy Department and other Obama cabinet speculation (updated)

Imagine that–Barack Obama is hiring an Energy Secretary who knows a lot about energy. Dr. Steven Chu is a Nobel prize-winner in physics who heads the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (which employs 4,000 people). Click the link to watch a YouTube of Chu.

The New York Times published some biographical information about Chu here. I love this comment:

In his own words: New houses could be made energy efficient with an investment of an extra $1,000, “but the American consumer would rather have a granite countertop.” (At a lecture in Washington on energy options, June 25, 2008)

Three other key appointees worked in the Environmental Protection Agency during Bill Clinton’s administration, the Associated Press reported:

The president-elect has selected […] Lisa Jackson for EPA administrator, Carol Browner as his energy ”czar,” and Nancy Sutley to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Democratic officials with knowledge of the decisions said Wednesday. […]

— Jackson, who would be the first black person to lead the EPA, is a former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner who worked at the federal agency for 16 years, including under Browner when she was Bill Clinton’s EPA chief. Jackson is a co-chairman of Obama’s EPA transition team, and currently serves as chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine. A New Orleans native, she grew up in the Lower Ninth Ward, the area stricken by Hurricane Katrina. She holds chemical engineering degrees from Tulane University and Princeton University.

— Browner, who served as EPA chief for eight years under Clinton, will become Obama’s go-to person in the White House overseeing energy issues, an area expected to include the environment and climate matters. Now chair of the National Audubon Society and on the boards of several other environmental groups, Browner has been leading the Obama transition’s working group on energy and environment.

— Sutley, the deputy mayor for energy and environment in Los Angeles and the mayor’s representative on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is the first prominent gay to earn a senior role in Obama’s new administration. She was an EPA official during the Clinton administration, including being a special assistant to the EPA administrator in Washington. She also previously served on the California State Water Resources Control Board and was an energy adviser to former Gov. Gray Davis.

No clear favorite has emerged for Secretary of the Interior. There’s a major battle going on behind the scenes over that appointment.

Obama met with Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who has been mentioned as a possible Secretary of Labor.

Moderate Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is not going to give Eric Holder a pass when the Senate Judiciary Committee holds confirmation hearings for Obama’s attorney general nominee. But I agree with Daily Kos user Dartagnan:

Specter is going to use the Holder hearing (23+ / 0-)

to shore up his credentials with the right for his primary fight against [right-winger Pat] Toomey.

That’s all this is.

Holder will be confirmed with moderate GOP opposition.

UPDATE: Chu seems to be an advocate of expanding nuclear power.

Regarding Specter’s plans for the Holder confirmation hearings, clammyc has a good commentary.

SECOND UPDATE: Rumor has it Obama will go with a compromise choice for Secretary of the Interior, rejecting environmental groups’ favorite Raul Grijalva as well as Blue Dog Mike Thompson. If true, this is an example of why it’s useful to kick up a fuss when a bad choice is floated for an important job.  

  • Couple of comments

    If Obama wants to appoint a new “energy czar” that’s fine, but why can’t the Secretary of Energy just be czar like if you follow me.

    Arlen’s going to have a dog fight on his hands here.  Pat Toomey is a nut.  I can understand wanting government off your back as a small businessman, but the dude is loony.  Any chance that Stevens or Ginsburg step down quickly and then Arlen has to vote on an Obama nominee for the Supreme Court?  Boy, that would put Arlen in more quick sand.  

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