Dec 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Picture of Joe Biden wearing a mask and giving a thumbs up

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

Where it stands: The EPA gig is just one of several important outstanding selections. The New York Times has a nice rundown of names in contention for other energy- and climate-related jobs.

Here's just a few...

  • Mustafa Santiago Ali, a former EPA official, is in contention to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality. He's currently an exec with the National Wildlife Federation.
  • Ali A. Zaidi, a top New York State energy official who also served in the Obama administration, "is widely considered the front-runner for the role of domestic climate change coordinator," the NYT reports.
  • The NYT and E&E News both report that former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is a possibility for the White House climate coordinator role, while E&E also lists Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee as an option.
  • Michael Connor, an alum of the Obama and Clinton administrations, is among the options for Interior Secretary, per the NYT. He's a citizen of the Taos Pueblo, and the piece notes there's strong interest in nominating a Native American to lead Interior for the first time.
  • Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), one of the first two Native American women elected to Congress, also "remains a contender" for Interior, the NYT reports.
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