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Obama appoints 'green' team
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-17 07:59

US President-elect Barack Obama has his green team. And for environmentalists, it is a dream team.

Obama has selected Nobel-prize winning physicist Steven Chu as energy secretary and Lisa Jackson, the former head of New Jersey's environmental department, to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Carol Browner, a confidante of former vice-president Al Gore, will lead a White House council on energy and climate. Browner, the longest-serving EPA administrator in history, headed the agency during the Clinton administration's two terms.

And while it wasn't officially announced on Monday, a transition official said Democratic Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado was Obama's choice to run the Interior Department, which oversees oil and gas drilling on public lands and manages the nation's parks and wildlife refuges.

The president-elect said he picked a team that signaled his determination to tackle global warming quickly and develop alternative forms of energy, vowing to "move beyond our oil addiction and create a new hybrid economy."

Salazar would probably bring an approach that Obama has said he wants - balancing the protection of natural resources while tapping the nation's energy potential.

Salazar, 53, has opposed drilling in the Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as the Bush administration's efforts to set up a program for leasing Western lands for oil shale development. It will be up to the Obama administration whether to go ahead with leasing.

Chu, 60, is director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, and is a leading advocate of reducing greenhouse gases by developing new energy sources.

He won the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics and is the son of Chinese scholars who migrated to the US in the early 1940s from Taicang in Jiangsu province.

Chu will become the second Chinese American in a US administration after Secretary of Labor Elaine Lan Chao go out with the Bush administration next month.

Congressional Democrats and environmental groups praised the selections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the picks as "an extraordinary 'green team' that is more than equal to the enormous task of protecting our planet, launching a clean energy economy with millions of green jobs, and providing a more affordable and secure energy future."

Agencies

(China Daily 12/17/2008 page12)