Biden to pick Brenda Mallory for CEQ chair — sources

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Brenda Mallory to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, a White House role that will be critical to the administration's efforts to address environmental justice and climate change, according to two sources.

Mallory, who served as CEQ general counsel under President Obama, brings more than three decades of working on environmental issues to the job. She's currently the director of regulatory policy at the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Reuters first reported Mallory's selection this afternoon. The Biden transition team did not immediately return a request for comment. Reached by phone this afternoon, Mallory declined to comment.

Other names recently floated for the job included Mustafa Santiago Ali, a former EPA official, and Cecilia Martinez, executive director of the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy.

CEQ is part of the White House but is often described as operating outside of the West Wing. In the Trump era, the council spent years rewriting regulations associated with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Those changes, finalized in September, accelerated environmental review for major federal projects like bridges, highways and pipelines. Critics said the changes diminished community input.

The Biden team is expected to retool President Trump's changes by focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and cumulative impacts of energy and infrastructure projects.

Christy Goldfuss, an Obama CEQ official who's now at the Center for American Progress, spoke highly of Mallory.

"She has the perfect temperament to navigate a difficult situation at the beginning of the administration," she said. "She knows how to bring people along, make tough decisions, and really will be able to execute on the Build Back Better."


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