Two White House officials confirmed the move Monday, the Associated Press reports.
Both USA Today and the New York Times say Browner’s departure indicates that the Obama administration is putting its environmental ambitions on ice, at least temporarily.
Browner, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, was charged with directing efforts to pass comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction laws. The bills failed, and Obama has said Congress is unlikely to pass any major climate change legislation in the next two years, the Times reports.
Browner’s departure comes just as a Republican-led House of Representatives plans to challenge Obama over his global warming policies and his response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the AP says.
She will leave within a few weeks, CNN said, and will return to the private sector, according to the Times.
Under her tenure, the federal government created nationwide fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and the EPA instituted regulations on greenhouse gas emissions – a move forced, at least in part, by the failure of cap and trade legislation.
Browner also helped to coordinate the White House’s response to the BP oil spill.
An anonymous White House official told the AP that Browner was “pleased” with the energy commitment Obama is planning to announce in his State of the Union address tonight.
Picture: President Obama being briefed on the Gulf oil spill, May 2, 2010.