Energy & Environment: Obama's Top Priorities

During a debate with John McCain in October, President-Elect Obama was asked what his top priority would be upon entering the White House. He was clear and concise in his answer; energy.

Obama explained that our energy problems were directly tied to rising consumer costs, dangerous foreign policy decisions and slowing job creation. He saw investment in domestic energy as a solution to both economic and international challenges.

As the new administration is created and indications of priorities begin to appear, ther are signs that Barack Obama is keeping his promise on energy reform.

First, just two weeks ago, Obama told Joe Klein of Newsweek that his number one priority upon entering office is addressing the energy and environmental crises' facing our country. Many are suggesting this will happen quickly if Obama and Congressional Democrats include funding for energy infrastructure re-building and new energy development in a fresh economic stimulus package that could soon take shape.

Second, Obama has already selected very experienced environmental advisers to head his energy and environment transition team. The man in charge of transitioning the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy is David Hayes, former deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior under Bill Clinton. In addition, Clinton's EPA Administrator Carol Browner and Department of the Interior Solicitor John Leashy join several other environmental advisers from the Clinton administration to help in the transition.

Third, Obama is considering well-known progressive leaders for posts in environmental agencies and inside the White House. Jason Grumet, President of the Bipartisan Policy Center and a leader in the Obama campaign on energy issues, is being considered for a top spot in the administration. Robert Kennedy, Jr., son of Robert Kennedy and famous environmental activist, is reportedly being considered for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, former Sierra Club president Lisa Renstrom; California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols; Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty; and Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles, are all also being considered for environmental posts inside the Obama administration.

As things begin to take shape for the new Presidency, all signs point to environmental and energy reform as high priorities for Barack Obama.

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