New leadership at DOE?

Source: Emily Yehle, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Energy policy observers agree that one Cabinet member is almost sure to leave: Energy Secretary Steven Chu. While commended for some advances — such as the agency’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy — Chu has faced criticism on nearly everything in the Energy Department’s portfolio. In recent months, House Republicans came down particularly hard on his handling of the loan guarantee program and the $535 million in stimulus money to now-bankrupt Solyndra.

In fact, Chu has faced retirement rumors throughout his tenure. A Nobel Prize-winning physicist, he has seemed ill-prepared to deal with a harsh political environment where congressional grilling sessions have been as much a part of his job as cutting-edge science.

If he leaves, as expected, energy policy observers say Obama will replace him with someone with more of a political background. Among the top possibilities: former North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan (D); former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D); Center for American Progress President John Podesta; and Duke Energy Corp. CEO Jim Rogers (Greenwire, Nov. 1).