President Obama will tap air quality expert Gina McCarthy to head the EPA and nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz to head the Department of Energy, Reuters reports. Citing a source familiar with the process, the news agency says the two nominations could come as early as this week.
If Congress approves the nominations, McCarthy would replace EPA chief Lisa Jackson and Moniz would replace energy secretary Steven Chu, both of whom announced their resignations earlier this month.
McCarthy is the assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, which develops national programs, policies and regulations for controlling air pollution and radiation exposure.
Moniz is director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative. According to Reuters, the organization receives funding from BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco, among others, to research projects intended to reduce GHG emissions. He also served as undersecretary of energy during the Clinton administration.
President Obama called for action on climate change in his inaugural address, and in his State of the Union speech threatened Congress that he would take executive action if lawmakers didn’t approve a market-based plan to regulate CO2 emissions.
The EPA would likely oversee such actions.
Reuters says environmental groups respect McCarthy, and she has a reputation for working well with utilities and state regulators.
Some 77 percent of energy and utility professionals expect an increase in environmental regulations during President Obama’s second term, according to a survey by environmental software provider Enviance.
Also in the State of the Union, the president proposed an Energy Security Trust program to divert some revenues from federal oil and gas drilling into research for alternative fuel technology. Obama suggested that the program would reduce household gasoline expenses.
Earlier this month, President Obama announced REI CEO Sally Jewell as his pick for interior secretary. Jewell has steered the outdoor goods company through a number of environmental initiatives since taking the CEO post in 2005.