EPA, Energy Nominees To Tackle Climate Change


  • EPA, DOE Nominees Picture

    EPA, DOE Nominees Picture

    President Obama has selected Gina McCarthy to head the EPA and Ernest Moniz to take over as Energy secretary. | March 05, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • President Obama announced his nominees to tackle climate change, picking an air quality expert to head the Environmental Protection Agency and a nuclear physicist to lead the Department of Energy.
  • Gina McCarthy is Obama's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, while Ernest Moniz is being tapped for the Department of Energy.
  • If confirmed by the Senate, each will deal with climate-change programs and auto-related issues during the President's second term.

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday announced his nominees to tackle climate change, picking an air quality expert to head the Environmental Protection Agency and a nuclear physicist to lead the Department of Energy.

Veteran administrator Gina McCarthy is Obama's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, while nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz is being tapped for the Department of Energy.

If confirmed by the Senate, each will deal with climate-change programs and auto-related issues during the President's second term.

In the administration's second term, a number of agenda items related to automobiles and the environment will land on the EPA chief's plate. In addition to such matters as the implementation of new clean-air standards, concerns about ethanol in gasoline continue to be a topic of debate. Mandated by Congress and administered by the EPA, the addition of corn to gasoline, while reducing greenhouse gases and cutting down on oil consumption, has also spurred some controversial, non-green results. For example, some scientists maintain that the process of turning corn into fuel uses as much energy as drilling for oil.

The Washington Post says McCarthy for the EPA "could be Obama's most significant nominee."

At the Department of Energy, the new secretary will also face a number of challenges. One immediate issue is whether to allow exports of natural gas in order to take advantage of an upswing in low-cost domestic production. Meanwhile, the Department's Vehicle Technologies Office is working on several programs to increase automobile efficiency and promote the use of alternative energy sources. Among these are continued improvements in hybrid and electric technology, more efficient energy storage, advanced combustion engines, and research on fuels and lubricants.

President Obama said McCarthy has "earned a reputation as a straight shooter" who nevertheless "welcomes different points of view." He expressed confidence that "she'll do an outstanding job leading the EPA."

Of Moniz, the President said, "He knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water and our climate." He concluded, "They're going to make a great team."

If confirmed, McCarthy, currently assistant administrator in the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, would take over the post previously held by Lisa P. Jackson, who announced her resignation in late December. Moniz, director of the Energy Initiative at MIT, would replace outgoing Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, who is leaving to rejoin the faculty at Stanford University.

Edmunds says: Assuming the nominations are confirmed, we'll get to know these cabinet members better and see what impact their departments have on car owners and the automobile industry.

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