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  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Mar 4, 2013 9:06 AM Flag

    New Energy Secretary, EPA Head to be Named

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House official says President Barack Obama on Monday will appoint a new energy secretary and new head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Obama is nominating MIT scientist Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department and EPA veteran Gina McCarthy to run the environmental agency. She currently serves as EPA's assistant administrator for air and radiation.

    Obama will announce the nominations during a White House ceremony Monday morning. Both posts require Senate confirmation.

    The official requested anonymity in order to confirm the nominations ahead of the president's formal announcement.

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    • This actually sounds good:
      Ernest J. Moniz, a nuclear physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who serves on Scientific American’s board of advisors, will be President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Nobel laureate Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy. While Moniz has yet to win a Nobel, he served on the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future from 2010 to 2012 and has a long track record in government service, including a stint in the Department of Energy under President Bill Clinton.

      Moniz is an “all of the above” physicist when it comes to energy policy. He has called on the Obama administration to encourage the construction of more nuclear power plants but also to support expansion of natural gas production and use, including fracking.

      Moniz has argued that “all of the above” is a multi-pronged approach: energy efficiency to reduce demand for power, acceleration of the switch from coal to gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encouragement of innovation to reduce the cost of low-carbon technologies such as renewables and nuclear power.

      Above all, Moniz has called for more temperance in energy policy. “We’ve had technology du jour events quite regularly,” Moniz told Scientific American in 2010, about government enthusiasm for everything from corn ethanol to the hydrogen economy. “We just have to get something that is more stable.” Of course, to have a stable energy policy would require a coherent energy policy—and that may prove beyond any secretary’s reach.

      • 1 Reply to lewis_whokeyser
      • On the other hand, this sounds bad:
        President Obama gave his second-term global warming agenda a lot more definition Monday with a new Environmental Protection Agency chief to replace Lisa Jackson. Picking Gina McCarthy, one of her top lieutenants and the architect of some of the agency's most destructive carbon rules, is a sign he intends to make good on his vow of "executive actions" if Congress doesn't pass cap and tax.

        Over the last four years running the EPA's air office, Ms. McCarthy has been a notably willful regulator, even for this Administration. Her promotion is another way of saying that Mr. Obama has given up getting Congress to agree to his anbitcarbon agenda, especially given the number of Senate Democrats from coal or oil states. The real climate fight now is over the shape of forthcoming rules that could be released as early as this summer, and a brutal under-the-table lobbying campaign is now underway.

        The main target, as usual, is the U.S. power industry, which accounts for 40% of U.S. carbon emissions and about one-third of greenhouse gasses. Last year Ms. Jackson and Ms. McCarthy imposed a moratorium on new coal-fired plants, plus other rules that are forcing utilities to shut down older plants and invest billions of dollars to upgrade everything else. The agency is about to go after the leftovers.