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So Who's In At Epa? (please Not Rfk Jr...)

We're closing the new issue of TNR tonight, so, for now, I'll have to put off writing more about what Obama's big win yesterday means for energy policy and the environment. There's plenty to say, trust me! But in the interim, I have to agree with Jason here and Sam Boyd here that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would be an appalling choice to head up Obama's EPA. (If you believe the rumors, he's emerging as a front-runner, though some reports have him shuffling over to Interior, and of course there's always the possibility this is silly speculation and he's nowhere near the racetrack.)

It's not just that Kennedy was a prime peddler of those baseless—and harmful!—conspiracy theories about vaccines causing autism. The more salient fact is that there's no reason to think he has the managerial chops necessary for this position, despite his distinguished career as a crusading lawyer and eco-activist. The EPA is a sprawling, complex agency, and the task of regulating greenhouse gases will make the head job exponentially more daunting—new climate legislation could well require the agency to double in size. Worse, because the EPA shied away from the business of carbon oversight during the Bush years, there's a relative dearth of in-house expertise on the subject—many of the people who know the most about regulating CO2 emissions are working in states like California. So, on that note, I'd echo Dave Roberts and suggest someone like Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board; if there's anyone in the country who knows more about implementing climate policy, their names aren't springing to mind...

P.S. On a related note, I jotted down a few thoughts on who should head up the Energy Department for In These Times a while ago.

--Bradford Plumer