Dec 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Biden taps Brenda Mallory to lead Council on Environmental Quality

Photo of Brenda Mallory in a blue top smiling at the camera

Photo: Stephanie Gross for Southern Environmental Law Center

President-elect Joe Biden has selected veteran environmental lawyer Brenda Mallory to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), his transition team announced Thursday.

Why it matters: If confirmed, Mallory would have Biden’s ear as an environmental policy adviser and oversee policy coordination across the federal government. She would also be the first African American to serve in the position.

The big picture: Mallory, currently the director of regulatory policy for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), has 35 years of experience in environmental law and policy under her belt.

  • She served as general counsel of CEQ under the Obama administration and held leadership positions at the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • At SELC, she has led regulatory policy work at federal and state levels.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Amy Harder: Mallory is the latest sign of how Biden is tapping into Obama-era officials who can hit the ground running on executive-branch policy given the low odds Congress will pursue big climate initiatives.

What they’re saying: “Mallory brings deep and versatile expertise working directly with communities and partners across the public and private sectors to solve climate challenges and advance environmental protection and environmental justice,” the Biden-Harris transition team said in a press release.

  • SELC Executive Director Jeff Gleason said in a statement that “Brenda has the experience, courage, and commitment to address the urgent environmental challenges we face."
  • “She is an exceptional lawyer and leader, and I have no doubt her taking on this role positions us for a better environmental future. SELC’s loss is the country’s gain,” Gleason added.

Go deeper: Biden picks North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan to lead EPA

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