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President Obama is reportedly set to nominate MIT Professor Ernest Moniz his next Secretary of Energy, replacing Steve Chu, who announced he is leaving earlier this month. In another appointment critical to federal influence on renewable energy development, the White House reportedly will name Gina McCarthy as EPA administrator, subject to Senate approval.
McCarthy, who is currently the assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, would replace Lisa Jackson, who left the administration earlier this month.
Moniz is a former undersecretary of energy during the Clinton administration and currently serves as director of MIT's Energy Initiative, a research effort aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. He would be the second scientist named by Obama to head DOE. Chu, a Nobel prize winner, came to Washington from the post of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he headed up sustainable energy research.
Moniz is better known for his research on coal, natural gas and nuclear energy. He was named to Obama's Science and Technology Advisory Council in 2009. He has been characterized as a major proponent of natural gas as "a bridge to a low-carbon future," arguing that natural gas will, in the long term, be phased out in and replaced by zero-carbon options. "For the next several decades, however, natural gas will play a crucial role in enabling very substantial reductions in carbon emissions," Moniz said in 2010.
McCarthy and her office were instrumental in the EPA's approval of E15, a 15-percent ethanol blend in gasoline for cars and light trucks built in 2001 and newer. As EPA administrator, she would be expected to take the administration lead on climate change policy. She has a lengthy history of state regulatory experience, having served as an environmental policy advisor to then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and later headed Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection.
If nominated, both could expect hard questions, McCarthy by conservatives who cite EPA regulatory overreach, and Moniz by environmentalists over his support of natural gas.
Source: 25x'25 Weekly Resource