RFA responds to reports of key Obama appointments

By Ryan C. Christiansen | January 03, 2009
Web exclusive posted Dec. 12, 2008 at 2:57 p.m. CST

Responding to media reports that Stephen Chu, Lisa Jackson and Carol Browner will fill key energy and environmental roles in the incoming Obama Administration, the Renewable Fuels Association said it's confident the team will support a diverse energy portfolio that includes ethanol.

According to media reports, Steve Chu, currently director of the U.S. DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., has been selected by President-elect Barack Obama to be U.S. Secretary of Energy. Lisa Jackson, who recently served as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, has been chosen as U.S. EPA Administrator. Carol Browner, who headed the EPA under former President Bill Clinton, has been picked to be Obama's "energy czar."

"We believe President-elect Obama fully intends to build upon the successes renewable energy technologies like ethanol are achieving," the RFA said in a statement released on Dec. 11. "The foundation being built by today's ethanol producers is pivotal in ushering in second- and third-generation biofuel technologies that will greatly expand the science and feedstocks used to produce renewable fuels and help create the kind of green economy and jobs President-elect Obama envisions."

Chu, the 1997 winner of The Nobel Prize in Physics, has been a vocal supporter of cellulosic ethanol production. "There's a lot of biomass out there. If we're ever going to raise crops for energy it's going to be for the entire biomass of the crop," Chu said in a Sept. 30, 2005, interview for the University of California, Berkeley news Web site. "The [USDA] pays people a lot of money not to grow crops on their land. As one person said, Look around, we can't really eat more' - or we shouldn't, anyway. If we have land we're not using, we should be growing our fuel."