16 Nov 2013

WASHINGTON– Dan Utech, a long-time Washington insider, has been Appointed as President Obama’s new “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change”. Utech will assume his new position on (Monday) 11 Nov 2013  Dan Utech came to the Obama administration in 2010, and currently serves as the “White House Deputy-Director for Climate. He will replace the departing Energy and Climate Advisor, Heather Zichal, whose last day in office was 8 Nov 2013.

ABOUT DAN UTECH For the last 3 1/2 years, Utech has played a significant role in developing and implementing much of Pres. Obama’s energy and climate agenda.  Utech will also have the unenviable task of explaining to the public, the Administration’s stand on often-contentious energy and environmental issues, such as: The Keystone XL oil pipeline, and new rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  Utech has experience with Congress that could prove helpful as he champions the White House’s energy and climate priorities.

UTECH IS A WASHINGTON “OLD-TIMER” Before joining the Obama administration, he worked in the Senate for 10 years, on the staff of the “Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee” and as Hillary Clinton’s top advisor on energy and environment issues. During the transition to Obama’s first term, Utech helped Secretary of Energy Steven Chu through the Senate confirmation process and then served as a senior advisor in the Energy Department.

ENVIRONMENTALIST Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said: “Dan Utech is a leader, a seasoned expert, and the right person for this critical energy and climate post…He’s well-suited to carry forward the policies our country needs to expand clean energy, cut carbon pollution, address climate change, and protect health.”


THE AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE  Pres Jack Gerard, said : “We hope to have a productive relationship with Utech…We had a constructive working relationship with Heather Zichal, and wish her well as she moves on… We look forward to working with Dan Utech to promote the U.S. energy revolution that is creating jobs, sending more revenue to our government and making America more energy secure.”

Thanks to the LA TIMES, 8 Nov 2013 for the story.


TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Ms. Heather Sichal  is out (probably dismissed) , Mr. Dan Utech is promoted to her position as President Obama’s new “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change”.

WHAT MOTIVATED THE DISMISSAL/PROMOTION?  We may never learn the reasons, but as a former Federal Employee, I recall the axiom:  “If one is not doing the job, someone else will be assigned to assist you, then replace you”. Often true; always wise.

WHY DO SO MANY WELL-INTENTIONED APPOINTEES FAIL?  Well…When it comes to contentious issues such as Carbon dioxide gas emission (Coal-fired Power-Plants), and many other Industrial noxious fume generation, business as usual (Liaises-faire) is a luxury we cannot afford, or tolerate.  The time is now, to “Fish, or cut bait”. Our governments have to face the immediate need to move swiftly in an attempt to stem the tide of “extreme weather events” such as sustained droughts, prolonged rains/floods, tornados, hurricanes, typhoons, polluted air ailments, etc.  Even so, most governmental employees have shown a tendency to follow the axiom: “The wheels of government move extremely slowly, and grind exceedingly fine”.  Why no boy!-that won’t do now!  Humanity must realize that each day we allow greenhouse gasses to exist/proliferate costs many thousands (if not millions) of lives

OUR EPA IS TOO SLOW  USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is today, a good example of “business as usual”, albeit at an accelerated pace; which does not promise immediate action /relief from the Carbon Dioxide (Coal-Fired Utilities) paradigm. EPA has already held 11 Public Listening Sessions.  See between 23 Oct 2013 and 08 Nov 2013. The sessions were held to:“solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants”. We were informed that the sessions were to all accounts a success; regrettably, their higher-ups would make no comment to us.. Typically, about 60 persons were allowed 3 minutes each.  The participants were from academia, the Coal fired Utility Industry and its stakeholders, and the general public. It has not been disclosed what (if anything) was gleaned from the sessions, or exactly what information was sought. That initial round of Public listening Sessions is scheduled to be followed by an additional Public Input during the “Notice and comment period”, once the EPA issues a proposal by June 2014. (NO GREAT EXPECTATIONS) Evidently the way they see it, such plans were created concurrent with the Clean Air Act long ago, and they should be followed, but where does it say that?! A midcourse trajectory- correction is sorely needed; Unfortunately, US DOE Secretary Moniz is dedicated to helping the worldwide Coal Industry; So perhaps the EPA’s attitude reflects his attitude , In my opinion, what is needed now, is an EPA Director with balls to confront the coal Barons with their doings and to bring the full weight of our Government toward making them an offer they can’t refuse. THE HEALTH OF OUR CITIZENS SHOULD BE HIS /HER PRIME DIRECTIVE.

IN MY BOOK, EPA IS “FOOT-DRAGGING” We need to keep in mind that EPA already knows full well who the principal Carbon-fired Utilities are, and where they are located, and can even quantify the amount of pollutants they emit. See: In my mind it is the Shareholders, and Operators of such Utilities that should be asked by EPA to submit their plans for improvement ASAP, and for compliance dates. Problem is, they put profit above all else.-Hell! At least half of them could morph to burn Nat-Gas within a year if they so willed it. It is even cheaper than coal, but changes cost money.  See what I mean!. EPA should not think that the coal-Industry will ever love them, not when they are being told to spend money, but that is alright!  “It is better to be feared than loved” -Nicolo Machiavelli (c. 1,500 AD).  We don’t love the IRS either, but we comply – Don’t we?.

ENTER DAN UTECH – STAGE LEFT. We must recognize that Dan Utech is not on the chain of command for the EPA, and that is good, because as Pres Obama’s “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change” He may speak independently/directly to the President (it is known as “having the ear of the president”) at anytime regarding recommendations/ ways-and-means to bring about what he (and his staff) believe could be done to accelerate and empower the EPA in its efforts to accelerate Carbon reduction goals ASAP. Utech’s many years of experience in the field, and the Washington scene, marks him as a potential Very Important Person (VIP) in the Obama administration, and a powerful advocate for Carbon reduction goals. Let us hope his heart is in the right place, because Carbon dioxide pollution reduction cannot wait. The reduction of Global warming is far more important than the financial interests of coal Barons, and time is of the essence.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


November 16, 2013 at 7:26 PM Comments (0)