Obama Nominates Energy Dream Team
This week, President Obama made three nominations to complete the team that will manage energy and environmental issues throughout his second term. These nominees include Ernest Moniz for energy secretary, Sylvia Matthews Burwell as White House budget director, and Gina McCarthy for EPA administrator. Obama declared his confidence that these three nominees will help to achieve his goals of energy independence, more clean-energy jobs, tackling climate change, and sparking economic growth.
Holding the position of president for the Walmart Foundation, and previously serving on Bill Clinton’s economic team, Sylvia Matthews Burwell has extensive experience with maintaining a budget. As deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the 1990s, she and her teammates supervised three consecutive budget surpluses.
President Obama defended his nomination as he explained that Burwell “understands that our goal when we put together a budget is not just to make the numbers add up. Our goal is also to reignite the true engine of economic growth in this country, and that is a strong and growing middle class – to offer ladders of opportunity for anybody willing to climb them.” If the Senate confirms her nomination, she will replace Jeffrey Zients and become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
As a physicist and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ernest Moniz directed the school’s Energy Initiative by overseeing various reports on nearly every aspect of energy. On top of this, Moniz also has previous experience in Washington by serving in Bill Clinton’s administration. He served as undersecretary of energy, as well as associate director of the White House office of science and technology policy.
With interests in nuclear power, carbon capture and storage for coal, renewable energy, and shale gas extracted through hydraulic fracturing, Moniz seems enthusiastic about President Obama’s “all-of-the-above” strategy. “Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water, and our climate,” Obama explained. If Moniz’s nomination is confirmed, he will replace Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Currently the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, Gina McCarthy is nicknamed “Obama’s green quarterback.” She has over 25 years experience working in both state and federal governments, including projects for former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. McCarthy also helped lead several of the EPA’s controversial rulings throughout the President’s first term, including regulations to restrain mercury and soot emissions from power plants.
Obama defends his nomination of McCarthy by saying, “As assistant EPA administrator, Gina has focused on practical, cost-effective ways to keep our air clean and our economy growing.” He added, “She’s earned a reputation as a straight shooter. She welcomes different points of views.” If her nomination is confirmed, she will replace EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.
McCarthy and Moniz will team up with Sally Jewell, who was nominated a month ago to run the Interior Department. These three will take on complex issues such as natural gas exports, crude oil imports, hydraulic fracturing, and climate change. Moniz would also become Obama’s “go-to person” for limiting dependence on foreign oil and developing the U.S. as a leader in clean energy. At the OMB, Burwell’s main objective will be to aid Obama’s goal of shrinking the U.S. deficit while also investing in areas that will improve the nation’s competitiveness, such as education and clean energy technology.
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