Dina Cappiello, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's top adviser on energy and climate matters is stepping down, two White House officials confirmed Monday. The departure of Carol Browner underscores that there will be no major White House push on climate change, given that such efforts have little chance of succeeding on Capitol Hill.
Browner, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President Bill Clinton, will be leaving the White House just as Republicans in Congress prepare to take on the Obama administration over global warming and the administration's response to the massive Gulf oil spill.
Browner successfully helped negotiate a deal with automakers boosting federal fuel economy standards and requiring the first-ever greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles. She also pushed for billions of dollars for renewable energy in the economic stimulus bill.
But the administration fell short on it key domestic priority of passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill to place a firm limit on the pollution blamed for global warming. Just after the November elections, which gave Republicans a majority of seats in the House, Obama admitted the legislation was dead.
One White House official said Monday that Browner was "confident that the mission of her office will remain critical to the president." The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Browner was "pleased" with the clean energy commitment
Obama would lay out in his State of the Union address Tuesday and in his budget request.
Scott Segal, an energy lobbyist with Bracewell & Giuliani, said Browner's exit could "be a part of a legitimate effort to pay careful attention to addressing some of the real regulatory obstacles in the way of job creation."