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February 01, 2013

Energy Department's Steven Chu is out

President Obama today hailed his energy secretary Steven Chu, who announced he won't serve a second term.

Obama in a statement said the Nobel Prize winning scientist, "brought to the Energy Department a unique understanding of both the urgent challenge presented by climate change and the tremendous opportunity that clean energy represents for our economy."

Obama said Chu helped the administration move the U.S. toward "real energy independence" and that in the past four years, the administration has doubled the use of renewable energy, "dramatically reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and put our country on a path to win the global race for clean energy jobs."

Chu in a lengthy letter to energy department employees called the job "the greatest privilege of my life," adding that "while the job has had many challenges, it has been an exciting time for the Department, the country, and for me personally."

He made no mention of the controversy over how he handled the restructuring of a loan for the California solar-energy company Solyndra.

Republicans have assailed the administration for the company's demise, but Chu has said he did nothing illegal but instead made a tough decision that gave him the best shot at getting taxpayer money back that had been loaned to the company.

He concluded his letter with a plea for action on climate change, writing "we don’t want our children to ask, 'What were our parents thinking? Didn't they care about us?"


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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