Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama naming Nobel Prize winner from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as energy secretary

Steven Chu, director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will be Barack Obama's energy secretary, according to several media reports.

The Nobel Prize winning physicist and former chair of Stanford University's physics department, is a major supporter of developing alternative fuels and solar research and backs government mandated steps to control greenhouse gas emissions.

His selection signals that Obama plans to move ahead with his agenda of promoting environmentally friendly energy sources. And by putting a university scientist at the helm of the energy department, instead of an industry leader or political leader with no science background as had been speculated, it indicates that Obama plans to commit to a government industry partnership to develop green energy initiatives.

"It is wonderful to see another distinguished Californian be mentioned for a Cabinet level position,'' Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement. "Dr. Chu would bring extraordinary scientific accomplishments to the job of Energy Secretary at a time when science is telling us we must act to avert the ravages of global warming."

Chu, 60, of Oakland, has led the Berkeley national lab since 2004 and is a member of the board of the Hewlett Foundation.

The Associated Press, citing Democratic officials, said Obama has also selected Lisa Jackson for environmental protection agency administrator and Carol Browner as his energy "czar."

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