Obama chose his energy advisers in much the same way as he chose his advisers in every other realm of policy, from defense to financial to foreign affairs: he wanted people who would be competent administrators, who were knowledgeable about the subject matter, and who (above all) could be counted on to implement White House policy as Obama directs. In the realm of environmental affairs he seems to have chosen well. For Secretary of Energy Obama tapped Dr. Steven Chu, who won a Nobel prize for physics in 1997 and who is committed to reducing greenhouse gases. For head of the EPA he chose Lisa P. Jackson, former head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection where her environmental record, particularly in cleaning up pollution, is strong. Picking political appointees is a difficult thing. You have to choose people who have a lot of knowledge about what they’ll be asked to administer, but they can’t be pure eggheads who may not know how to run an agency; you have to choose people who will carry out your agenda even if they don’t agree with it, but they can’t be pure lackeys with no will of their own. Generally Obama’s had a good run with his environmental team, at least in my opinion.
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