Obama praises departing climate czar

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President Obama on Friday praised Heather Zichal, who is resigning from her post as his energy and climate czar.

The administration announced Zichal's resignation early last month. She has advised Obama since 2008 and replaced former climate czar Carol Browner in 2011.

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"For more than five years, I have been fortunate to have Heather Zichal as a trusted advisor," Obama said in a statement on Friday.

"She crafted my energy and climate change agenda in the 2008 campaign, then again on my Presidential transition, and as my top energy and climate adviser at the White House, she has been a strong and steady voice for policies that reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, protect public health and our environment, and combat the threat of global climate change," Obama said.

Zichal has been a public face for Obama's climate and energy platform, including the highly scrutinized second-term agenda to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

She plans to move on to a non-governmental job, according to Reuters. Her departure is part of an almost complete turnover of the administration's energy and environment team.

Zichal was reportedly offered a post as the next chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality but turned it down, according to The Washington Post.

Here is the rest of what Obama said on Zichal's departure Friday:

"Heather has overseen some of our biggest achievements in energy and climate change, including establishing historic new fuel economy standards that save consumers money, reducing mercury pollution from power plants to keep our kids safe, supporting the growth of homegrown clean energy that creates good new jobs, and enacting my Climate Action Plan that will help us leave a safer planet for our children. Above all, Heather’s efforts have proven that strengthening America’s energy security does not have to be a choice between economic growth or good environmental stewardship – it can mean both. I am grateful for Heather’s service, and I wish her the best in her next endeavors."