Reaction from environmental groups to almost-president Obama’s cabinet choices has been interesting. Most of the choices have been welcomed by most organizations (Carl Pope made incoming labor secretary Hilda Solis sound like a green Mother Theresa).
Reservations I’ve heard have been voiced about the National Security Advisor, General Jim Jones, who is said by some to be a climate change nonbeliever, but that’s a bit outside the purview of his new job and he’s wildly outnumbered by believers in the cabinet and the White House.
I also saw a troubling email about the new EPA administrator-designate, Lisa Jackson, sent around by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. That group says that Ms. Jackson’s tenure as head of the state environmental agency in New Jersey was less than a success. Most groups seem to support her, but PEER raises some matters that should come up at her confirmation hearing.
The most problematic, at this point anyway, seems to be Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, tapped to become Secretary of the Interior. All praise his opposition to drilling in the Arctic refuge, some question his support for some resource extraction activities including offshore oil drilling, and his record on species protection seems to be a bit spotty.
In the Agriculture Department, it’s not clear what Tom Vilsack’s attitude toward the national forests will be—we’ll have a big clue when he names his under secretary who will oversee the Forest Service. On balance, speaking only for myself, it looks like a very strong team. Not perfect, no doubt, but miles—light years—ahead of any executive branch team we’ve seen for a long, long time.
And check my next column—the best appointment I’ve left for last.