U.S. EPA's policy chief is leaving his post to move to the Energy Department, becoming the second high-profile environmental advocate to leave that position during the Obama administration.
Michael Goo has served as associate administrator for EPA's Office of Policy since he was appointed in early 2011 by then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. He's heading to work in DOE's energy policy and systems analysis division, a source told Greenwire.
Prior to heading to EPA to work under Jackson, Goo was staff director of the now-defunct House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. He also served as the Natural Resources Defense Council's climate legislative director and worked for two congressional panels with jurisdiction over climate legislation -- the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&ENews PM, Jan. 20, 2011).
Gwen Keyes Fleming, chief of staff to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, announced Goo's departure Friday in a memo obtained by Greenwire.
"I am writing to announce that Michael Goo will be leaving his current position as Associate Administrator in the Office of Policy to pursue an opportunity in the Administration at the Department of Energy (DOE)," she wrote.
"As you know, Michael has been a key member of our management team in the Administrator's Office over the last three years, and I would like to take this opportunity to share my gratitude for his leadership and work on behalf of the Agency," she added.
Some see the move as an effort by McCarthy to bring her own staffers into high-ranking positions now that she's at the helm of the agency.
It may be that the new administrator wants to assemble her own team, said one Washington, D.C., environmentalist. "It's possible that that creates a desire to get somebody hand-selected by Gina in charge of that office."
Goo became head of the policy office after Lisa Heinzerling, one of the primary architects of the agency's climate change program, stepped down in late 2010. Heinzerling returned to her post as an environmental law professor at Georgetown University after taking a two-year leave of absence to work for EPA (E&ENews PM, Nov. 4, 2010).
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