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President-Elect Obama Nominates Dr. Steven Chu as Energy Secretary

December 17, 2008 - 2:30pm


Photo of Steven Chu.President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Dr. Steven Chu, the current director of DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), to be the next Secretary of Energy. Dr. Chu won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1997 and has run LBNL since 2004. Prior to that time, he was a professor at Stanford University and a scientist at AT&T Bell Labs. Dr. Chu is credited as an early advocate for finding solutions to climate change and for guiding LBNL toward more research on low-carbon energy sources, including renewable energy and biofuels. Current Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman welcomed the nomination, noting that Dr. Chu not only understands the significance of our energy and environmental challenges, but also understands the technical solutions needed to address them. That sentiment was echoed by the president-elect.

"Dr. Steven Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who has been working at the cutting edge of our nation's effort to develop new and cleaner forms of energy," said President-elect Obama. "He blazed new trails as a scientist, teacher, and administrator, and has recently led the Berkeley National Laboratory in pursuit of new alternative and renewable energies. Steven is uniquely suited to be our next Secretary of Energy as we make this pursuit a guiding purpose of the Department of Energy, as well as a national mission. The scientists at our national labs will have a distinguished peer at the helm."

The president-elect also established a new position in the White House, the Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, and selected Carol Browner for the new post. Browner is a former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is currently a principal of The Albright Group LLC, a firm that provides strategic advice to companies. According to the Obama transition team, Browner "brought the climate change issue to the forefront" during her tenure at the EPA, and she "established climate change as an important environmental issue requiring action." Browner's deputy assistant will be Heather Zichal, a former legislative director for Senator John Kerry. See the announcement from President-elect Obama.