Carol Browner, former Clinton EPA head and current White House "energy czar" is stepping down.
The usual anonymous source offers this bit of pablum on her departure:
"Carol is confident that the mission of her office will remain critical to the president and she is pleased with what will be in the State of the Union tomorrow and in the budget on clean energy," the senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Does this mean that any movement on climate change mitigation is being abandoned by the White House?
Browner will stay on as long as it takes for an orderly transition, although the White House isn't being concrete on if the position will even be filled. From same anonymous source:
"On the question of what will happen to the position, the president's commitment to these issues will of course continue but any transition of the office will be announced soon."
Given Obama's penchant for Corporate staff changes in Daley, and most recently promoting RIAA lawyer Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. to Solicitor General, is it unreasonable to assume that, should she be replaced, we'll see the likes of one of the Koch Brothers or Tony Hayward take the job of advising the president on environmental issues?
The lobbyists are salivating at the thought:
Kevin Book, an analyst at ClearView Energy Partners LLC in Washington, said the November elections results were a warning to Obama about his ambitious energy policy.
"The age of grand designs ended that day and the age of 'bite-sized chunks' began," Book said. "That doesn't leave a lot of maneuvering room for an environmentalist-in-chief."
or Scott Segal of Bracewell & Giuliani (yes, that Giuliani; and B&G are major pro-pollution laywers):
Industry lobbyist Scott Segal said Browner’s departure "may be part of a legitimate effort to pay careful attention to addressing some of the real regulatory obstacles in the way of job creation in the United States."
Segal said he’s concerned the rules "may undermine reliability and affordability of power, and place millions of energy, refining and manufacturing jobs at competitive disadvantage."
Because deregulation for the last 30 years has really curbed climate change.
The Chamber of Commerce (with whom Obama has a date in February) weighs in:
"Our nation needs someone in the White House that will work to address America’s escalating energy challenges and provide the president with practical counsel," said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. "Cutting across all the federal agencies with a hand in energy policy to ensure we can power our economic recovery should be a high priority for the administration."
Not that she was perfect, she dabbled in a little Baghdad Bob during the BP spill:
"She seemed like she was little more than a mouthpiece for misinformation," said Linda Young, director of the Clean Water Network of Florida. "How sad to see her on national television telling us lies and saying ridiculous things like the oil had mostly disappeared. That was not the Carol Browner that I knew for so long."
Jim Inhofe (R-Lorax Slayer) is quite pleased with her departure:
"Carol Browner and I have long been on opposite sides of many issues," he said. "I would say that I’m happy to see her leave only because she was so effective in advancing her side. Given her considerable knowledge and experience in navigating the bureaucracy, she will be irreplaceable. In the spirit of unity, I wish her all the best."
It's Obama's move now. Will he sell out the planet for his own temporary gain or will he make a courageous move to bolster the environment? The EPA is going to have a rough 2 years under a Republican assault from the House and will need all the help it can get from the administration.
Actions, not words.