Magazine article American Forests

Washington Outlook

Magazine article American Forests

Washington Outlook

Article excerpt

The election of Barack Obama as our next President has awakened hope among AMERICAN FORESTS' diverse partners, and throughout the broader conservation community. While environmental and economic challenges loom large, eagerness for change and action on climate change, energy, and environmental issues is widespread and passionate.

As President-elect Obama, with the help of his transition team, has selected members of his Cabinet and leadership team to address these issues, there has been an upswell of ideas and requests in transition memos from interest groups, businesses, non-profit groups, individuals, and state and local governments. The President-elect has promised to move quickly and aggressively on these issues, and the people he has appointed to his Administration seem well experienced and qualified to do this.

Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate in physics and director of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, has been selected by President-Elect Obama for Secretary of Energy. Carol Browner, who led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Clinton Administration, will head a new council to coordinate White House energy, climate, and environmental policies. Lisa Jackson, who has headed New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection since 2006, will take previous experience at the federal EPA to her new position as EPA Administrator. And Nancy Sutley, who also has experience at the EPA and recently worked in the Los Angeles Mayor's office, will lead the Council on Environmental Quality.

This group of appointees represents a formidable combination of scientific expertise and management experience in federal agencies. Including New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who formerly served as Energy Secretary in the Clinton Administration and will oversee economic and trade policy as President-elect Obama's Secretary of Commerce, the group is well-positioned and qualified to take serious action towards the President elect's vision of integrating environmental, energy, and economic policy.

In his campaign materials and recent statements, President-elect Obama has said that environmental issues will be important in his Administration, and that environmental and economic initiatives are not contradictory. He has called the need to address climate change a "matter of urgency," and is seeking to connect climate change initiatives with efforts to promote a clean energy economy and to create millions of green jobs. In his proposals to address the current ailing economy through an economic stimulus package, President-elect Obama has set a goal of creating 2. …

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