President Obama's choice of two Massachusetts residents to head the Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency attests to the state's pioneering efforts in those related fields. Barring the usual congressional nonsense, their appointments should help the nation keep up with Massachusetts in protecting the environment and exploring alternative forms of energy.
In announcing the appointments of Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Eugene Moniz to head Energy and environmentalist Gina McCarthy to run the EPA, Mr. Obama said Monday that they would be instrumental in the White House's effort to combat climate change while creating jobs and economic opportunity. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the two goals are hugely compatible.
Mr. Moniz, who now serves on the president's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology, can be counted on to advocate energy sources like solar and nuclear to combat global warming. The lack of a waste disposal site has stalled the development of nuclear power, which must be a larger part of the energy mix to reduce air pollution from fossil fuels. According to The Boston Globe, environmentalists are concerned that oil and gas industry funding of MIT's Energy Institute will cause Mr. Moniz to be too sympathetic to their interests, but it is unlikely that the president would appoint someone to head Energy whose goals are not in line with his.
The EPA's assistant administrator for air and radiation, Ms. McCarthy earned Washington's notice by working to design the rules that forced the dirtiest coal- and oil-fired power plants to clean up their acts. She worked for four Massachusetts governors, which attests to her political skills and non-partisan credentials.
From advancing non-polluting energy sources like solar and wind energy, to mandating tough guidelines on polluters to combat global warming, Massachusetts has been at the forefront of energy and environmental policies, especially during the tenure of Governor Deval Patrick, that have the dual benefit of job creation. The Obama White House has wisely taken notice and intends to follow suit.