Obama’s climate focus won’t waver as key aides exit — CEQ chief 

Source: Corbin Hiar, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 22, 2015

The outgoing head of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality said today that he’s sure the Obama administration’s effort to combat climate change won’t waver — even though President Obama is losing two of his top environmental aides.

“I think you heard from the president last night his commitment on this,” acting CEQ Chairman Mike Boots said before the start of a press conference calling for reauthorizing the expiring Land and Water Conservation Fund (see related story). He was referring to Obama’s State of the Union address, in which the president declared a climate and energy war against the new GOP-led Congress (E&E Daily, Jan. 21).

Earlier this month, Boots announced that he was leaving the White House in March — only a month after Obama’s top environmental aide, John Podesta, is also slated to step down. Those departures prompted fears among some environmentalists that the administration’s climate agenda would suffer from a lack of experienced, committed leadership within the White House (E&ENews PM, Jan. 13).

Boots, however, said that he and Podesta believe those concerns are misplaced. “John and I feel that there’s a good team in place, a good team in the Cabinet and across the White House. We have both been strong advocates for it, but there will be two new people after us who will be strong advocates for us, and we’re very confident in the agenda he’s laid out,” he said.

Asked who those successors would be, Boots demurred. “I don’t have any personnel announcements at this time from the White House,” he said.

As for his future, Boots said, “I don’t have any precise plans. I’m looking at a few different options.”

On the agenda, however, is some hard-earned rest and relaxation. “After six years there, I’m looking to take a little bit of a break and figure out what’s next,” he said.