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Obama Announces Energy and Environmental Officials


President-elect Barack Obama named key members of his team on energy and the environment on Monday as he prepares to take office next month as the country's 44th president.

At a news conference in Chicago, President-elect Obama said his incoming administration was determined to take on global warming and develop alternative forms of energy that he hopes will also boost the flagging U.S. economy.

"The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained, 'all-hands on deck' [everyone involved] effort, because the foundation of our energy independence is right here in America," said Barack Obama. "t's in the power of wind and solar, in new crops and new technologies, in the innovation of our scientists and entrepreneurs, and in the dedication and skill of our workforce."

Mr. Obama named physicist Steven Chu as his choice to head the Department of Energy.

Chu currently directs a government laboratory in California. He also won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics.

"I look forward to being part of the president-elect's team, which believes that we must repair the economy and put us on a path forward towards sustainable energy," said Steven Chu.

Mr. Obama also named New Jersey official Lisa Jackson to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA.

Former EPA administrator Carol Browner will also join the incoming administration as the White House coordinator on energy and climate change policies.

On another matter, Mr. Obama said an internal review by his transition team shows that his aides did not have inappropriate discussions with scandal-plagued Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich was arrested last week on allegations that he tried to sell Mr. Obama's now vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Obama said he had no discussions with the governor about his successor in the Senate and that he wanted to release his internal review of staff contacts. But Mr. Obama said the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago asked him to delay issuing his report to the public because the investigation is ongoing.

"There is nothing in the review that was presented to me that in any way contradicted my earlier statements that this appalling set of circumstances that we have seen arise had nothing to do with my office, and those facts will be coming to all of you in due course," he said.

Federal prosecutors have said there is no evidence that Mr. Obama was aware of the governor's alleged scheming.

Blagojevich has so far refused calls from several leading Illinois politicians to resign in the wake of the scandal. Illinois state legislators have taken the first steps toward possibly impeaching the governor and removing him from office.

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