Energy & Environment

Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies

President Biden on Thursday announced a slate of environmental nominees, including his choices to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Land Management. 

He'll nominate Rick Spinrad, NOAA's former chief scientist to be the agency's administrator. Spinrad was at the agency during the Obama administration, when he also co-led a White House committee that developed ocean priorities. He is currently a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University.

NOAA, which is usually viewed as largely focused on science, came under fire during the Trump administration in what became known as the "Sharpiegate" controversy in 2019. The agency put out an unsigned statement rebuking a National Weather Service tweet which appeared to contradict former President Trump's claims that Hurricane Dorian had been slated to hit Alabama. 

To lead the Bureau of Land Management, Biden picked Tracy Stone-Manning, as The Hill and other outlets previously reported. Stone-Manning is currently a senior adviser at the National Wildlife Federation and previously worked as then-Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's (D) chief of staff. 

Another appointee, Monica Medina will be nominated as assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau and Oceans and International Environmental and Science Affairs. Medina, a professor and former NOAA official, is married to White House chief of staff Ron Klain. 

Biden also announced Bryan Newland as his pick for assistant secretary of Indian Affairs, overseeing the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Newland recently completed his term as president of Bay Mills Indian Community and is an Obama administration alumnus. 

Other nominees announced Thursday include Carlos Monje to be undersecretary of Transportation for policy, Shalanda Baker to be director of the office of minority economic impact at the Energy Department and Annie Petsonk to be assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs in the Transportation Department.

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