December 16, 2008 in Nation/World

Obama adds Interior pick to energy team

Associated Press

Duncan tapped for Education

 Obama has chosen Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan to serve as education secretary, people with knowledge of the decision said Monday.

 Obama planned to announce his choice this morning.

 Duncan has run the country’s third-biggest school district for the past seven years. He has focused on improving struggling schools, closing those that fail.  Duncan has played pickup basketball with Obama since the 1990s. In fact, Duncan co-captained the Harvard basketball team and played professionally in Australia before his career in education.

WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama plans to name Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado to run the Interior Department, rounding out an environmental and energy team charged with quickly tackling global warming and developing alternative forms of energy.

The choice of Salazar to be secretary of a department that oversees oil and gas drilling on public lands and manages the nation’s parks and wildlife refuges will be announced later this week, an Obama transition official said Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting Obama’s announcement.

Nobel-prize winning physicist Steven Chu will be energy secretary, and Lisa Jackson, the former head of New Jersey’s environmental department, will head the Environmental Protection Agency, Obama announced Monday.

Carol Browner, a confidante of former Vice President Al Gore, will lead a White House council on energy and climate. Browner headed the EPA in the Clinton administration. Nancy Sutley, a deputy Los Angeles mayor, will be chair of the White House Council on Environment Quality.

The president-elect vowed to “move beyond our oil addiction and create a new hybrid economy.”

Chu, 60, is director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., and is a leading advocate of reducing greenhouse gases by developing new energy sources. His selection received widespread praise on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said he looked forward to “confirming Dr. Chu as quickly as possible.”

“His appointment should send a signal to all that my administration will value science. We will make decisions based on the facts, and we understand that facts demand bold action,” Obama said.

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