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Obama Unveils Environmental, Energy Policy Team

President-elect Barack Obama named a former head of the EPA and a Nobel prize-winning scientist to his energy and environmental policy teams Monday. Analysts discuss how Obama's picks will carry out his agenda.

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    President-elect Obama introduced his energy and environment team in Chicago late this afternoon.


    The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained all-hands-on-deck effort, because the foundation of our energy independence is right here in America, in the power of wind and solar, in new crops and new technologies, in the innovation of our scientists and entrepreneurs and the dedication and skill of our workforce.

    Those are the resources that we have to harness to move beyond our oil addiction and create a new hybrid economy. The team that I have assembled here today is uniquely suited to meet the great challenges of this defining moment.


    Steven Chu, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, was nominated to head the Department of Energy. Currently he's director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

    STEVEN CHU, Energy secretary-designate: In our current economic crisis, people are losing their jobs and homes, companies are collapsing. Some say we have to concentrate exclusively on re-establishing the health of the economy.

    I look forward to being part of the president-elect's team, which believes that we must repair the economy and put us on a path forward towards sustainable energy.


    Carol Browner, who led the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration, will head a new office based in the White House charged with coordinating energy, environmental, and climate policies.

    Taking the EPA job Browner once held will be Lisa Jackson, currently chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. She also ran that state's Department of Environmental Protection.

    And Nancy Sutley, a Los Angeles deputy mayor for energy and environment issues, was tapped to head the White House-based Council on Environmental Quality. She has served as an Obama transition adviser.

    Mr. Obama was asked about off-shore drilling and about how quickly he would allow California to enforce its vehicle emissions standards, a move halted by the Bush White House.


    Both are items that my environmental team, as well as my energy team, are going to be reviewing in the weeks to come, but I think it is very important just to look at the history when it comes to the regulation of emissions in California.

    Consistently, California has hit the bar and then the rest of the country has followed. And rather than it being an impediment to economic growth, it has helped to become an engine of economic growth.

    And one of the key points that I want to make at this press conference — and I will repeat again and again during the course of my presidency — is there is not a contradiction between economic growth and sound environmental practices.

    Mr. Obama said he will name another member of his environmental team later this week, the secretary of the interior.


    Margaret Warner has more on the story.