Ottawa and Calgary take note: Barack Obama has reportedly picked his environment/energy team. The NYT is reporting that the Energy Secretary will be Steven Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,who is a Nobel Laureate in physics. Chu “will also play a central role in directing the research and development of alternative energy sources needed to replace fossil fuels in a era of constrained carbon emissions.” His team should be reassuring to climate change activists, and includes as its top White House climate change advisor a former EPA administrator, Carol Browner, who is described as an “acolyte of former Vice President Al Gore.” (There had been much speculation that Vancouver-born Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, would get the energy job.)
Also today the president-elect called on the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, to resign for trying to sell Obama’s old senate seat to the highest bidder — or maybe it was for sullying the good name of the president elect’s mother on FBI wiretaps. Blago ignored him.
Obama also gave his first newspaper interview to the LA Times/Chicago Tribune (a nice boost in the midst of those newspapers’ bankruptcy woes) in which he said he never spoke to Blago about the senate seat; said he expected to be sworn in as “Barack Hussein Obama” but that the use of his middle name was not a “political statement”; and answered a question — sort of — about NAFTA:
Question: Also, on NAFTA, we’ve heard that you might support maybe a study and then a report, instead of a wholesale reworking of the agreement right away?
Obama: Well look, my economic team is reviewing these issues. You know, I’ve consistently said on trade issues that I want environmental and labor provisions that are enforceable in those trade agreements. But I also have said that I believe in free trade and don’t think that we can draw a moat around the American economy. I think that would be a mistake.