Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to President Obama for energy and climate change, is leaving the post, according to reports confirmed by the White House.
Zichal was a prime mover behind a number of White House climate change initiatives, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal issued on Sept. 20 for new greenhouse gas standards for power plants.
Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke said about the departure in an Oct. 7 statement: “Heather Zichal has been a vital voice for the environment within the White House and a key architect in drafting the policies our country needs to cut carbon pollution, address climate change and protect health. We are sorry to see her go.”
Zichal helped to shape and execute many of President Obama’s top energy and climate priorities, including establishing new vehicle fuel economy standards, reducing mercury pollution, and supporting clean energy deployment in the United States. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Zichal served as a Policy Director to the Obama Campaign, where she helped craft the 2008 energy platform. She previously served as the Legislative Director to then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
Said Zichal in a Sept. 20 blog post about the greenhouse gas plan for power plants: “Today, the EPA announced another milestone by re-proposing carbon pollution standards for new power plants. With this announcement, the EPA is taking responsible, steady steps to cut carbon pollution, protect the air we breathe, and develop affordable, American-made clean energy. For years we have had limits in place for arsenic, mercury and lead that power plants can release, and today we are taking a common-sense step to reduce the carbon pollution that is contributing to higher rates of asthma attacks and more frequent and severe floods and heat waves. The President is serious about taking on the challenge of climate change, and with today’s announcement we are proving that we can deliver on that promise.”