The Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration all have openings at the top, while the administration has a limited amount of time to press a second-term environmental agenda before the next election cycle begins.
Activists say they are optimistic that President Obama can pursue some ambitious environmental policy goals. “This clearly doesn’t reach the level of gun control or immigration, but I feel it’s on the table in a way it wasn’t in the first term,” said William Meadows, counselor to The Wilderness Society.
Many environmentalists want Obama to use his executive authority to create new national monuments in his second term. The last Congress was the first since 1966 not to designate a new wilderness area.
“We’re hoping he can leave a legacy for conservation of public lands and have a real vision for it,” said The Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams. “He’s got the ability to respond to America’s desire to protect these places in bolder ways.”