President Obama on Friday hailed the work done by outgoing climate adviser Heather Zichal, who helped craft his sweeping green energy agenda.
“Heather has overseen some of our biggest achievements in energy and climate change, including establishing historic new fuel economy standards that save consumers money; reducing mercury pollution from power plants to keep our kids safe; supporting the growth of homegrown clean energy that creates good new jobs; and enacting my climate action plan,” Obama said.
“Above all, Heather’s efforts have proven that strengthening America’s energy security does not have to be a choice between economic growth or good environmental stewardship – it can mean both,” the president added.
Zichal served as Obama's top climate adviser for the last five years. She has not yet announced her future professional plans — Zichal's chief deputy, Dan Utech, will take over her post.
Zichal was a central architect of the administration's efforts to crack down on carbon emissions.
Newly proposed Environmental Protection Agency rules, which Zichal helped formulate, would force future power plants to significantly cut down on their carbon footprint. Republicans have dismissed the first-ever regulations as part of the administration's “war on coal.”
The administration next June is expected to roll out new rules for current power plants, restrictions that would allow the White House to sidestep Congress in enacting the president's green energy agenda.