Sign up today and save up to 83% on a Hartford Courant digital subscription
CT Now

President Obama's top environmental advisor plans to leave

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s top advisor on energy and climate issues is leaving the post, the White House said Monday, making no immediate announcement of a replacement.

Heather Zichal has advised Obama since his 2008 presidential campaign and took over the role of lead energy advisor after Carol Browner left the White House in 2011. Her departure comes as the president moves to make good on a reinvigorated climate change agenda that he laid out in a speech in June.

“Heather is one of the president’s most trusted policy advisors," White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said in a statement announcing Zichal’s departure. "The president values her expertise and counsel and is grateful for her service.”

The statement did not give a reason for Zichal’s departure. Through a spokesman, Zichal declined to comment.

FULL COVERAGE: The U.S. government shutdown

Zichal, the president's deputy assistant for energy and climate change, is expected to leave in the coming weeks. A White House official did not offer any possible replacements. Any successor would have to shepherd controversial initiatives the White House plans to undertake to tackle climate change in the absence of congressional action.

Rules proposed recently by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants have provoked an outcry from Republicans, business lobbies and politicians from coal states. Rules for existing power plants, certain to be even more contentious, are to be proposed in June 2014.

League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski described Zichal as a “tremendous leader” in the fight against climate change. Zichal played a role in creating tougher fuel efficiency standards, developing mercury and air pollution safeguards and the recent regulations aimed at cutting carbon pollution from power plants, Karpinski said.

“America is better off today because of her commitment to a cleaner, safer world,” Karpinski said.

Follow Politics Now on Twitter and Facebook

Twitter: @khennessey

kathleen.hennessey@latimes.com

Twitter: @neelaeast

neela.banerjee@latimes.com

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
Related Content
  • Team Obama: Where are they now?

    Team Obama: Where are they now?

    Follow additional Times politics coverage: Read more: 2016 presidential possibilities. President Obama's past.

  • The best political photos of 2013

    The best political photos of 2013

    From the congressional halls to the Jersey shore, here's a look at the best photos surrounding the year's political discourse in 2013. Read more: Debate over the Affordable Care Act. Timeline: Politics in 2013.

Comments
Loading
79°