The incoming Biden administration picked the nominees for five key energy positions: Energy Secretary, Interior Secretary, Environmental Protection Agency Chief, White House Climate Advisor, and Council on Environmental Quality Chief. Here’s a quick breakdown of who these individuals are and what they are likely to do in their new roles.
Jennifer Granholm was named the Energy Secretary. As the former governor of Michigan, she has a close relationship with the auto industry, which could help as Biden pushes towards lower emissions levels and electric cars. She has also pushed for divesting from oil and gas and instead investing in renewable energy. While this is on-brand for Biden’s climate policy, it could be disastrous if they push the country to rely too heavily on renewable energy when we don’t yet have the required technological capabilities.
The new Interior Secretary will be Deb Haaland. Hailing from New Mexico, Haaland is a Member of Congress and, if confirmed, will be the first Native American to lead the Interior Department. In a key signal by the Biden administration, Haaland was a cosponsor of the Green New Deal. If confirmed, she will push for similar policies at the Interior Department and limit oil and gas leasing on federal lands.
Future EPA Chief Michael Regan is the top environmental regulator in North Carolina and is the former Associate Vice President at the Environmental Defense Fund. The New York Times says that Biden must use the EPA to work around a deadlocked Congress and “expand Obama-era efforts to curb greenhouse gases from power plants, automobiles and oil and gas sites.” As a key player in North Carolina’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Regan will similarly assist Biden in his efforts to meet his own 2050 pledge.
Gina McCarthy will be the White House Climate Advisor. With experience as the head of the EPA in the Obama administration, McCarthy has been credited with the creation of the first climate change policies under Obama. EcoWatch reports: “Gina McCarthy is a proven climate advocate with the experience to hit the ground running and coordinate an all-of-government response to the climate crisis.”
McCarthy will likely push Biden towards more aggressive and unrealistic climate goals and has many ties to climate activist groups who will be lobbying for Biden to be “bolder and braver” in his climate policies. As climate advisor, McCarthy will have a strong influence, and according to the New York Times, “with authority to reach across the government to embed climate policies in virtually every federal agency.” This should concern all individuals that recognize our struggling economic position due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Finally, Brenda Mallory will be the chief of the Council on Environmental Quality. She, too, served in the EPA under the Obama administration, as an attorney, and comes directly from the Southern Environmental Law Center. Unfortunately, the New York Times reports,
The council is expected to expand its focus on issues of environmental justice under Ms. Mallory in addition to its traditional role of coordinating environment policy throughout the government, other people close to the presidential transition said.
This means that Mallory will likely use her position to push liberal forms of “environmental justice,” whatever that vague phrase may mean.
This line up of extreme climate activists should cause concern for many Americans. We all want a clean environment, but the best path forward is innovation, not economy-crushing regulations. Now, more than ever, we need to support the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Americans as our country works to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden is clearly filling his administration with individuals who will bring back failed Obama policies or aggressive and unrealistic policies such as the Green New Deal.