Robert F Kennedy Jr to Head EPA? and 4 Runners Up


Image source: Santa Clara University

While not officially nominated, the Washington Post reported yesterday that he is on the short list of new leaders for the US Environmental Protection Agency. Obama's Administration is also reported to be looking to hire women and minorities to lead "high-profile positions."

More on the potential nominees after the jump.Robert F. Kennedy currently is a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council and a professor at Pace University School of Law and was once assistant district attorney for New York City. He also cohosts Ring of Fire on Air America Network. Son of Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of John F Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy. Kennedy was arrested for trespassing on the US Camp Garcia in Puerto Rico for protesting training efforts there and was sentenced to 30 days jail. This led to his work at Riverkeeper to fulfill his 1,500 community service hours and his eventual founding of the Waterkeeper Alliance. He also codeveloped the Tears of the Clouds LLC bottled water company - all of the profits go to restoring the Waterkeeper Alliance.

His activism has grown in the last few years, as a he has written two books and authored countless articles, as well as being named one of Time.com's Hero of the Planet. He has a Bachelors Degree from Harvard College and a juris doctorate from University of Virginia, as well as a LL.M (master of law) from Pace University.

Whoever is chosen will certainly have their work cut out for them. The US EPA is currently led by Stephen Johnson and has had a troubled few years as the Administration has put heavy pressure on the agency to ignore and avoid issues, as well as weaken rules left and right. Many EPA bureaucrats and staffers left during this administration. The EPA Administrator is not a cabinet level position. With climate change looming large, its questionable whether this position will be elevated during the Obama Adminstration - attempts have been made in the past, but each time were voted down. The Agency has also been severely hit with budget cuts each year, effectively tying it his hands behind its back.

Other potential candidates for the position include:

A. Former Sierra Club President Lisa Renstrom

Image source: UN Omaha

Renstrom is the 51st President of the Sierra Club after joining her local North Carolina chapter 10 years ago and quickly moving up the ranks. She has spent many years working as a community organizer and small business advisor in Mexico. Her father invented several beauty products including Tip Top Hair Products, which made enough for him to build a retreat in Acapulco (Villa Vera Hotel) - years later it became a Hollywood playground and Elizabeth Taylor even married her third husband there. It was while she was trying to sell this property that she ended up in a Mexican jail for 6 months for refusing to back down to pressure. Back in the states she joined the Sierra Club and became Executive Director for Voices & Choices, a group that links business, government and the community to create environmental sustainability. She was also a judge for Treehugger.com's Convenient Truth's Contest. She has a finance degree from the University of Nebraska and a degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.

B. California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols

Image source: Day Life
Nichols previously served as Assistant Administrator in the EPA Office of Air and Radiation under the Clinton Adminstration, and was also a member of the Board of Directors for the California League of Conservation Voters. She previously served as the Air Resources Board Chair thirty years earlier from 1978-1983 before being asked to come back to the Board by Governor Schwarzenegger. She earned her Bachelors from Cornell University and a juris doctorate from Yale Law School. She implemented many of the first environmental laws in California as one of their first environmental lawyers. She was also Director of the University of California, Los Angeles Institute for the Environment and has been instrumental in pushing the state's climate change program forward. She has also worked as an environmental lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Law in the Public Interest. In addition, she was Executive Director of Environment Now in California and formed one of the first environmental justice working groups.

C. Pennsylvania Department of the Environment Secretary Kathleen McGinty

Image source: Penn Live

McGinty Chaired the Council on Environmental Quality under Clinton (the first and only women to ever hold that position) and was also Deputy Assistant to Former-President Clinton. She has a BA in Chemistry from St. Joseph's University and a law degree from Columbia University School of Law and spent several years working in the US Senate negotiating international environmental treaties. McGinty later worked with companies on international energy issues and spent a year at the Indian Tata Energy Research Institute. She advised Al Gore on his campaign and also the Democratic National Committee on environmental issues. As Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, she was the first woman to hold that position, but left in July 2008 after 5 and a half years.

D. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles

Image source: Flickr

Under the Clinton Administration, Bowles was Associate Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and later Senior Director of the Global Environmental Affairs Directorate at the National Security Council. He first went on to work as a legislative assistant in the House of Representatives and then Vice President of Conservation Inernational. Outside of government work, Bowles spent nearly 20 years working in several clean energy technology firms. Ian Bowles earned a Bachelors in Economics from Harvard College and a Masters from Oxford University.

:Washington Post
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Tags: Bill Clinton | EPA | Global Climate Change | Green Jobs | United States

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