White House Enviro Council Chairwoman Sutley Stepping Down

Nancy Sutley
National Journal
Ben Geman
Dec. 3, 2013, 10:51 a.m.

White House Coun­cil on En­vir­on­ment­al Qual­ity Chair­wo­man Nancy Sut­ley will step down in Feb­ru­ary, mark­ing the al­most com­plete turnover of Pres­id­ent Obama’s top en­vir­on­ment and en­ergy of­fi­cials.

Sut­ley, ap­poin­ted at the out­set of Obama’s pres­id­ency, has kept a lower polit­ic­al pro­file than some oth­er top of­fi­cials. But she played a cru­cial role in sev­er­al ma­jor ad­min­is­tra­tion policies, the White House said.

The White House has not yet named Sut­ley’s re­place­ment.

Obama, in a state­ment, thanked Sut­ley for her five years with the White House, call­ing her a vi­tal part of such policies as the second-term cli­mate agenda he rolled out in June.

“As one of my top ad­visers, Nancy has played a cent­ral role in over­see­ing many of our biggest en­vir­on­ment­al ac­com­plish­ments, in­clud­ing es­tab­lish­ing his­tor­ic new fuel-eco­nomy stand­ards that will save con­sumers money, new na­tion­al monu­ments that per­man­ently pro­tect sites unique to our coun­try’s rich his­tory and nat­ur­al her­it­age, our first com­pre­hens­ive Na­tion­al Ocean Policy, and our Cli­mate Ac­tion Plan that will help leave our chil­dren a safer, health­i­er plan­et,” he said.

Sut­ley is the latest long-serving en­vir­on­ment­al of­fi­cial to leave the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. Obama’s first-term En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency ad­min­is­trat­or, Lisa Jack­son, left early this year, and the second term has also brought new sec­ret­ar­ies of En­ergy and the In­teri­or.

More re­cently, top White House cli­mate and en­ergy aide Heath­er Zichal left in Novem­ber.

The Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted in Oc­to­ber that White House of­fi­cials, in an ef­fort to get Zichal to stick around, raised the pos­sib­il­ity of her tak­ing the CEQ job, but she de­clined.

Sut­ley’s next moves aren’t yet clear.

“She’s plan­ning to re­turn to her home in Los Angeles for a well-earned break be­fore pur­su­ing oth­er op­por­tun­it­ies in the en­vir­on­ment and en­ergy arena,” a CEQ aide said.

Sut­ley was deputy may­or for en­ergy and en­vir­on­ment in Los Angeles when Obama tapped her to run CEQ, an agency that plays a ma­jor role co­ordin­at­ing en­vir­on­ment­al policy among fed­er­al agen­cies.

Earli­er in her ca­reer, Sut­ley held jobs in­clud­ing en­ergy ad­viser to former Cali­for­nia Gov. Gray Dav­is and deputy sec­ret­ary for policy and in­ter­gov­ern­ment­al re­la­tions at the Cali­for­nia EPA from 1999-2003, ac­cord­ing to a White House bio.

She worked for EPA in the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion as a seni­or policy ad­viser to the re­gion­al ad­min­is­trat­or in San Fran­cisco and spe­cial as­sist­ant to then-EPA Ad­min­is­trat­or Car­ol Brown­er. Brown­er and Sut­ley would later re­unite in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, where Brown­er served as Obama’s en­ergy and cli­mate czar be­fore de­part­ing in 2011.

Sut­ley has not had the pro­file of James Con­naughton, her George W. Bush-era pre­de­cessor at CEQ, who was the pub­lic point per­son for sev­er­al Bush ini­ti­at­ives.

In an in­ter­view, Brown­er called Sut­ley a team play­er and said she had a ma­jor hand in a num­ber of ini­ti­at­ives, in­clud­ing Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ef­forts to make the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment it­self more en­vir­on­ment­ally sus­tain­able.

Obama is­sued an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der in 2009 re­quir­ing re­duc­tions in fed­er­al green­house-gas emis­sions, im­prove­ment in waste man­age­ment and re­cyc­ling, and oth­er steps to get green­er. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has cut its green­house-gas emis­sions by more than 15 per­cent with these ini­ti­at­ives, the White House said.

Sut­ley played a vi­tal role in put­ting the plans in­to prac­tice, Brown­er said. “She really was the force be­hind … that and de­serves a huge amount of cred­it,” said Brown­er, who also ap­plauded Sut­ley’s work on na­tion­al-monu­ment des­ig­na­tions.

Obama also praised Sut­ley’s ef­forts to curb the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment’s en­vir­on­ment­al foot­print.

“Un­der her lead­er­ship, fed­er­al agen­cies are meet­ing the goals I set for them at the be­gin­ning of the ad­min­is­tra­tion by us­ing less en­ergy, re­du­cing pol­lu­tion, and sav­ing tax­pay­er dol­lars. Her ef­forts have made it clear that a healthy en­vir­on­ment and a strong eco­nomy aren’t mu­tu­ally ex­clus­ive — they can go hand in hand,” he said.

Ken Salaz­ar, Obama’s first-term In­teri­or Sec­ret­ary, cred­ited Sut­ley with ad­van­cing con­ser­va­tion through work on na­tion­al-monu­ment des­ig­na­tions and the mul­tia­gency “Amer­ica’s Great Out­doors” ini­ti­at­ive cre­ated in 2010.

“When his­tor­i­ans look back at her time at CEQ, they will be able to say she was very ef­fect­ive in in­form­ing and ad­van­cing the pres­id­ent’s con­ser­va­tion agenda,” he said in an in­ter­view.

“Nancy’s per­son­al­ity is that she is a work­horse, not a show horse, and she labored in the de­tail of things to get things done,” Salaz­ar said.

Amy Harder contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
DO THEY NEED TO GET TO 15%?
Will Romney Endorse the Libertarian Ticket?
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson told CNN Thursday that Mitt Romney was considering endorsing him for president this fall." He said the two had recently spoken. Johnson's running mate, Bill Weld, agreed that they have a good chance of winning the endorsement, especially if they meet the 15% polling threshold for participating in the presidential debates.

Source:
FIRST WOMAN NOMINATED BY MAJOR PARTY
Hillary Clinton Accepts the Democratic Nomination for President
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"It is with humility, determination, and boundless confidence in America’s promise that I accept your nomination for president," said Hillary Clinton in becoming the first woman to accept a nomination for president from a major party. Clinton gave a wide-ranging address, both criticizing Donald Trump and speaking of what she has done in the past and hopes to do in the future. "He's taken the Republican party a long way, from morning in America to midnight in America," Clinton said of Trump. However, most of her speech focused instead on the work she has done and the work she hopes to do as president. "I will be a president of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving, the successful," she said. "For those who vote for me and for those who don't. For all Americans together."

COUNTER-CHANTS AT THE READY
Protesters Make Good on Threat to Disrupt Speech
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Supporters of Bernie Sanders promised to walk out, turn their backs, or disrupt Hillary Clinton's speech tonight, and they made good immediately, with an outburst almost as soon as Clinton began her speech. But her supporters, armed with a handy counter-chant cheat sheet distributed by the campaign, immediately began drowning them out with chants of "Hillary, Hillary!"

SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
18 hours ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
18 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
×