Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heather Zichal on Navy biofuels program: es bueno [?]

Biofuels Digest quotes from Heather Zichal :

Heather Zichal, the White House deputy assistant for energy and climate change, calls that “shortsightism,” and says Congress “needs to get beyond the myopia that is stunting investment in and handcuffing Defense Department use of biofuels. The Defense Department isn’t making these investments in renewable energy and renewable fuels because it sounds good,” she says. “They’re doing it because it makes sense from an operational and national security perspective.

Politico had mentioned Zichal before in the context of Solyndra:

Internal emails released from the White House over the past several months show that Zichal played a recurring role in the Solyndra saga. Her messages have also been some of the most colorful from inside the administration, including an email sent to colleagues last August describing Solyndra's impending bankruptcy filing as a "*#~@ show."

Separately, the New York Times had noted:

In one e-mail, dated Oct. 27, 2010, Heather R. Zichal, the deputy assistant to the president for energy and climate change, told Carol M. Browner, the White House’s chief staff member on climate change: “Solyndra is going to announce that they are laying off 200 of their 1,200 workers. No es bueno.

That announcement was postponed until the day after the midterm elections of Nov. 2, 2010, apparently at the urging of the Department of Energy.

Zichal has a New Jersey background, as a Rutgers grad and as a former worker for Democrat Rush Holt. From wikipedia:

While at Rutgers she had interned at the state chapter of the Sierra Club and was part of a panel interviewing candidates for U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey's 12th congressional district.[5] The support of her and other environmentalists helped Democrat Rush D. Holt, Jr. stage an upset victory over Republican incumbent Michael J. Pappas.[5] Impressed by her sharpness, Holt hired Zichal, and she went to Washington, D.C., where she served as a legislative director for him.[5][1] She held the same position for Representative Frank Pallone from 2001 to 2002.[1] She then was a legislative assistant and later director for U.S. Senator John Kerry from 2002 to 2008,[6][1] She also worked as an assistant for the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.[7] In these positions she worked on legislation to address climate change, reduce the country's dependence on oil for energy, and to protect American natural resources.[8] She also served as a top advisor on energy and environmental issues to the 2004 Kerry presidential campaign and the 2008 Obama presidential campaign[1][2][5] (having first met Obama when he was lost in one of the Senate buildings and asked her for directions).[9]

UPDATE. 4 August 2012.

from Rahm Emanuel refers Solyndra questions to WH lawyer

A House report on the Solyndra bankruptcy showed that Emanuel was a driving figure behind President Obama’s appearance at the Solyndra factory — he was “super hot” to do the event, according to White House aide Ron Klain — because he believed that “[j]obs and high tech and Recovery Act is a winning combination.”

The report also indicates that Emanuel’s interest played a role in the White House supporting the loan guarantee, based in part on a 2009 email that Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Policy, wrote to another White House staffer.

“In addition, Ms. Zichal stated that ‘folks in the financing community’ had also raised concerns about the Solyndra loan guarantee, ‘[b]ut if Rahm wants it, we’ll make it happen,’” the report says of the email.


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