Monday, March 02, 2009

Obama Nominates Gary Locke as Commerce Secretary

President Barack Obama has nominated the former governor of Washington, Gary Locke, left, to be Secretary of Commerce. Locke has an impressive environmental protection record and was one of the first to enact regulations to limit climate change. In May 2005 Locke signed regulations into law requiring new power plants that burn fossil fuels to offset 20 percent of their carbon dioxide emissions. In 2003, the Democratic governors of California, Oregon and Washington, including Locke, agreed to cooperate in reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the West Coast.

Lock sought more state autonomy on brownfields and Superfund cleanups. He supported application of "Good Samaritan" rules to abandoned mine cleanup, which included a proposal to amend the Clean Water Act to protect a remediating agency from becoming legally responsible for any continuing discharges from the abandoned mine site after completion of a cleanup project, provided that the remediating agency, or 'Good Samaritan,' does not otherwise have liability for that abandoned or inactive mine site and attempts to improve the conditions at the site. He backed collaborative, incentive driven, locally-based solutions to water quality restoration.

In 2003, Governor Locke asked the U.S. Navy for an explanation of the use of sonar that may have disrupted whales and caused the death of porpoises north of Seattle. Locke also made endangered Chinook salmon preservation a priority. (Source: Environment News Service)

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