President-elect Joe Biden announces his climate and energy team nominees and appointees in Wilmington Del., on Saturday.
President-elect Joe Biden formally unveiled his team of White House and Cabinet officials on Saturday who he promised “are committed to facing climate change by delivering environmental justice” as they put the country on a path to eliminating greenhouse gases by mid-century.
Biden introduced the six nominees and appointees whose names emerged over the past week: Former EPA chief Gina McCarthy as the newly created National Climate Adviser; Ali Zaidi, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deputy secretary for energy and environment, who will be her deputy; North Carolina regulator Michael Regan for EPA administrator; Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) for Interior secretary; former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for Energy secretary; and longtime environmental lawyer Brenda Mallory to chair the Council on Environmental Quality.
“Today’s nominees are ready on day one, which is essential because we literally have no time to waste,” Biden said at an event in Wilmington, Del.
McCarthy noted in her remarks that climate change will require action across the board. “It will be my incredible honor to help turn this plan into promises kept by marshaling every part of our government, working directly with communities, and harnessing the force of science and the values of environmental justice to build a better future for my two — very soon to be three — little grandchildren, and for generations of Americans to come.”
In addition to acknowledging the historic pollution problems that still plague many low-income and minority communities, Biden also re-iterated that many elements of his plan would create jobs: Expanding the charging station network for electric vehicles and purchasing more EVs for the government fleet, transitioning to cleaner sources of electricity, building 11.5 million energy efficient public housing units and plugging more than 3 million abandoned oil and gas wells.
“These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams, these are concrete, actionable solutions, and the team’s going to get it done,” he said.
Likes from the left: Along with other key officials, like climate envoy John Kerry and Pete Buttigieg, who was nominated this week for Transportation secretary, Biden’s team has earned broadly positive reviews from environmentalists, both for for the broad experience and diversity. However, some green activists are angry that environmental justice groups successfully torpedoed California regulator Mary Nichols, who has led many of the state’s most aggressive climate change actions, from the EPA spot.
Confirmation ‘brawl’: Though Biden avoided what was sure to be a contentious nomination fight over Nichols, Republicans still are expected to grill those officials who will require Senate confirmation.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) on Friday predicted “a bit of a brawl” over Regan and Haaland’s nominations. Cramer specifically criticized Regan because North Carolina sued the Trump administration over its Waters of the U.S. rule and for denying permits to the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline’s Southgate extension.
He also blasted Haaland for supporting the Green New Deal. “We’re going to have to stand our ground and fight the fight,” he said on Fox Business’s “Varney & Co.”