Transition: Obama to Name Environmental Leader

WASHINGTON (AP) - President-elect Barack Obama has selected a
deputy mayor of Los Angeles to lead the White House Council on
Environmental Quality, transition officials said Wednesday.
Nancy Sutley is the first prominent member of the gay and
lesbian community to earn a senior role in the Democrat's new
With many of his top White House and Cabinet posts filled, Obama
now is focusing on fleshing out his natural resources and
environment team, and could formally introduce his choices for
interior secretary, energy secretary and environmental protection
agency chief within weeks if not days.
Two transition officials disclosed Sutley's selection on the
condition of anonymity because Obama had not yet made the
Sutley supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during the
Democratic primary and was a member of her Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender steering committee.
The deputy mayor for energy and environment in Los Angeles and
the mayor's representative on the Board of Directors for the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Sutley has a
long record of working on environmental and natural resources
She previously served on the California State Water Resources
Control Board, which is responsible for protecting water quality
and resources throughout the state, and was the energy adviser to
former Gov. Gray Davis. During President Bill Clinton's
administration, Sutley was an EPA official, including being a
special assistant to the EPA administrator in Washington.
Obama has chosen much of his Cabinet, with the most prominent
positions - treasury, justice, state and defense - already filled,
and he is now turning to other posts. He is expected to officially
name former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle as his secretary
of health and human services as early as this week.
Obama transition aides would not discuss appointments other than
But officials close to the transition team privately say that
Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, appears to be
increasingly on track to become energy secretary.
A Chinese-American, Chu is a professor of physics and molecular
and cell biology at the University of California-Berkeley and has
been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
since 2004, where he has pushed aggressively for research into
alternative energy as a way to combat global warming.
It is the oldest of the Energy Department's national
laboratories, but does only unclassified work and in recent years
under Chu has been at the center of research into biofuels and
solar technologies. Chu has been a strong advocate for the need to
engage scientists in the search for ways to combat global warming
by replacing fossil fuels with other energy sources such as
biofuels and the sun.
These officials also say that former New Jersey Department of
Environmental Protection commissioner Lisa Jackson and Mary
Nichols, who heads the California Air Resources Board, are in the
running for the EPA administrator post. Both women worked at the
EPA under Clinton EPA chief Carol Browner, who is leading the
energy and environmental policy team for Obama's transition.
Browner, who ran the agency for 8 years, is expected to be named
to a new position in the Obama White House overseeing energy,
environment and climate matters. But officials say there was still
some discussion over whether Browner would share her duties with
Sutley or another adviser on energy and environmental matters.
Of the three posts, the interior secretary job appears to be
most in flux.
Officials close to the transition said support for John Berry,
the director of the National Zoo and a former assistant secretary
at the department, was growing. Gay and lesbian advocacy groups
backing Berry, who is gay, were expected to meet with the
transition team in Washington on Wednesday.
But these officials also said Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva and
California Rep. Mike Thompson were still in the running to lead the
agency, depending on how other positions shake out.
Associated Press Writers Dina Cappiello and H. Josef Hebert
contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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