Thank You Street: Ex-Obama energy aide named to Board of methane giant Cheniere

One more connection between the methane industry and the Obama administration.

Heather Zichal, the former “Obama energy aide” in question, was in fact deputy to Carol Browner, Obama’s energy “czar,” as the position was known at the time. When Browner left, Zichal took over most of her responsibilities, though the “czar” position itself had been reorganized. Among Zichal’s responsibilities:

[Zichal] was the architect of a June 2013 plan to reduce greenhouse gases resulting from the nation’s power plants by having the Environmental Protection Agency issue revised standards for carbon emissions from new and existing plants.

Now she’s been nominated to the Board of methane (fracking) giant Cheniere. Wonder how that happened? Not me. I wonder how we didn’t see it coming.

Steve Horn and the invaluable DeSmogBlog with the details:

Heather Zichal, Former Obama Energy Aide, Named to Board of Fracked Gas Exports Giant Cheniere

Obama's liaison to the methane and fracking industry, Heather Zichal. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Obama’s liaison to the methane and fracking industry, Heather Zichal. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Heather Zichal, former Obama White House Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, may soon walk out of the government-industry revolving door to become a member of the board of directors for fracked gas [methane] exports giant Cheniere, who nominated her to serve on the board.

The announcement, made through Cheniere’s U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Form 8-K and its Schedule 14A, comes just as a major class-action lawsuit was filed against the board of the company by stockholders.

In reaction to the lawsuit, Cheniere has delayed its annual meeting. At that meeting, the company’s stockholders will vote on the Zichal nomination.

What will Zichal earn for the hard work of being on the Board? Before you read on, take your best guess. Done? Now read:

Zichal was nominated to join Cheniere’s audit committee of the board, and will be paid $180,000 per year for the gig if elected.

That’s $180,000 for being on the Board, a part-time job. Welcome to Thank You Street, Ms. Zichal, where the work comes first and the paycheck comes after you leave office. Please read the rest of the article. It’s chock full of good info.

Why we must have fracking

What did Zichal do to earn her new position? She was the liaison between the methane and fracking industry and the Obama administration. But you could have guessed that, right? More from Horn’s article:

Zichal was best known to many as the main mediator between the oil and gas industry and the White House during her time working for the Obama administration.

And:

As Obama’s “climate czar,” Zichal headed up the effort — mandated via an April 13, 2012 Obama Executive Order — to streamline regulatory oversight of the gas industry in the U.S. … [T]he Executive Order signed in the form of a “Friday news dump” created “a high-level, interagency working group that will facilitate…domestic natural gas development” overseen by Zichal.

Obama signed the Executive Order after meeting with Jack Gerard, head of the American Petroleum Institute (API), and other industry leaders. According to EnergyWire, API requested the creation of that working group.

Here’s Zichal talking to the American Petroleum Institute, the industry lobbying group. Note in the introduction to her talk, she’s been working with Obama since he was a senator. Who introduced her? The above-mentioned Jack Gerard:

Did you hear the “fracking can be done right” comment near the middle, and also all the leases being handed out (sorry, sold at near-nothing prices) by the Dept. of Interior?

She’s talking to her future employers. How cozy is this administration with the fossil fuel industry? In Ms. Zichal’s case, $180,000-per-year cozy. Looks like the climate got outbid once more.

Again, there’s a ton in this article, if you have the stomach for it. Thanks, Mr. Horn, for the great research.

GP

Twitter: @Gaius_Publius
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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • Nancy L

    Climate sold out for really a pittance. Ugh.

  • barada

    Democratic scum is hardly better than GOP scum, if at all.
    I deplore BOTH.

  • barada

    Crony capitalism sucks no matter WHO does it, GOP or DEM.
    This is just a another corporatist insider going thru the revolving door
    between Gov’t and Big Biz.

    The American People are the outsiders here, and the biggest losers.

  • basiliusydx493

    upto I saw the receipt four
    $8937 , I accept …that…my mom in-law had been truley bringing in money part
    time from their laptop. . there brothers friend haz done this for only eight
    months and resantly cleard the morgage on their place and bought a top of the
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  • http://www.friv2g.org/ Friv2G

    She’s very good and smart.

  • Bill Perdue : Pedo

    Do you still cruise playgrounds in search for little boys?

  • SteffGibbonsrae

    my Aunty Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by
    working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • FLL

    Stop the press! Oh, Nicho, you are far wittier than I gave you credit for. In my reply to you below, I said that Google wouldn’t help out in finding an example of the following:

    Or you have a speech writer for a nutball Republican senator all of a sudden writing a “lefty” blog.

    I just got the reference that you hinted at in your reply to emjajay. John Aravosis! Yes, John must have written speeches for the Republican senator, Ted Stevens, during the late 1980s. Some may say that you are too cute for words, others might say that you are too cute by half. Yes, I understand that you and John don’t often share the same opinion, particularly the opinion that liberals and progressives shouldn’t vote because all democratic candidates are “the same” as republican candidates.

  • FLL

    Waiting… and waiting…

  • FLL

    (1) “You have a guy working for the Family Research Council this week and they’re heading up the Human Rights Campaign next week.”

    (2) “Or you have a speech writer for a nutball Republican senator all of a sudden writing a “lefty” blog.”

    I don’t think Google would help out here. File this reply under suggestions for writing style.

  • eggroll_jr

    Really doesn’t hold a candle to Catherine Reheis-Boyd, now President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA). This lady is the epitome of the busy fracking bee, really doing front-line work in coopting environmental and resource protections.

  • caphillprof

    “Journalists” are the worst. Almost always married to/shacked up with a political operative, a lobbyist or the devil incarnate.

  • Swami_Binkinanda

    What is up with Ted Olson and Dave Boies? How’d that happen?

  • nicho

    Google is your friend,

  • nicho

    She is any Republican.

  • emjayay

    I believe it was Sister Georgina in the third grade who taught us that name calling is rude and only demeans the name caller.

  • emjayay

    Can you cite some examples of both those scenarios?

  • WarrenHart

    Good, She earned it and I like her and I’m sure she’ll do a great job. I’d much rather have her there than any Republican.

  • Ford Prefect

    Well, the Obama administration does it every Terror Tuesday, so why not throw in some real threats like his “climate czar” as well? She’s a bigger threat to US National Security than any of those other people, since she’s directly contributing to the extinction of the human race, no?

    I know, Obama sees nothing wrong with her agenda. That’s why he hired her.

  • Max_1

    It’s never a revolving door when it’s Obama’s Administration doing the revolving…

  • Indigo

    Ah, for the days when we hung pirates from the yardarm, promptly and without prevarication.

  • Bill_Perdue

    “And if you think all of this is problematical, JUST IMAGINE a Republican administration. “We live under a Democrat/Republican regime. Pretending that one party is better or worse than the other is falling for the oldest scam in American politics, a scam described by HL Menken almost a century ago. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”, http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_l_mencken.html H. L. Mencken was a merciless satirist who had no mercy for the silly theory of lesser evilism.

    Gore Vidal was a contemporary satirist who said the same. He said There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt — until recently … and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.” http://ivn.us/2012/08/02/gore-vidal-on-democrats-republicans/

    Obama is a right wing Democrat who admits that he’s a Republican. “President Obama said his economic policies are “so mainstream” he’d be considered a moderate Republican in the 1980s. … The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican,” Noticias Univision 23 WH interview. “http://thehill.com/blogs/on-th…

    Democrats are as thoroughly corrupted as Republicans. Their main differences with Republicans centers on who gets the most bribes to buy the most votes to win office to get the most bribes.

  • Ford Prefect

    One of the most convenient aspects of Neo-LIberalism is it doesn’t view any of this as “corrupt.” It’s merely maximizing profits at the expense of the loot-able public, which is totally okay within the “market state” we have now. This is precisely what they mean when they talk about running government like a business: “We earn money the old fashioned way… we steal it.”

    This stuff sure is expensive though. It’s also why the human race seems to have a self-destruct mechanism built into it. We’ll never deal with climate change (or anything else that threatens to wipe us out) as long as this is the dominant paradigm.

  • nicho

    Doesn’t matter whether it’s Republican or Democrat. People turn their coats all the time, depending on who dangles the most money in front of them. You have a guy working for the Family Research Council this week and they’re heading up the Human Rights Campaign next week. Or you have a speech writer for a nutball Republican senator all of a sudden writing a “lefty” blog. It’s like Mexican wrestling, where the bad guy in one match just changes his mask and becomes the good guy in the next match 15 minutes later.

  • nicho

    I can’t remember who it was, but early in the Obama tragedy, a black comedian — Whoopi Goldberg? Chris Rock? — said that Obama’s actions were really going to “hurt the next black president — in the year 3500.”

  • emjayay

    I don’t know what circles Gaius runs in, or who he/she is in the first place, but John lives in DC and is around enough to I’m sure get it. Actually, living in the NW DC as I did and riding the Metro is enough, although I didn’t exactly work in their world. These people – government and lobbyists and corporate people and World Bankers and journalists too – all live in NW DC or thereabouts, or in similar situations in Houston or wherever, and all make the high incomes that support that. They are next door neighbors, go to the same churches, shop at the same Safeway and Whole Foods, eat at the same restaurants, went to the same universities, send their kids to the same private schools, wear the same suits. Zichal’s husband is probably a corporate lobbyist or lawyer or something. All one social situation of privilege.

    Even lefty bomb thrower Ron Susskind lives in NW DC. I bet I know exactly the CVS he mentioned in his story about his autistic kid, who he is able to spend $90K a year on.

    The government does have an interest in the economy working. But the government side isn’t about holding anyone’s feet to any fire. That would be out of place and socially unacceptable. She just made a few little nods to regulation. “Of course there will be a little bit of regulation, but really we are all in this together, the economy and corporations are our real priority, and our entire lifestyle depends on it, of course, so no one is really rocking anyone’s boats here, not to worry.”

    And if you think all of this is problematical, just imagine a Republican administration.

    I think it would be really interesting for John to write about this whole picture.

  • http://alreadyscrewed.wordpress.com/ Number Six

    Why should it start being pretty now?

  • Bill_Perdue

    Agreed. It’s a

  • nicho

    As you note, Obama still has two more years — and not a Monica Lewinsky in sight. That slowed Bubba and Hill down a bit. Without Monica, Social Security would be just a dim memory. After the elections in November, Obama is a totally lame duck and has free rein to do anything. Based on his current trajectory, it’s not going to be pretty.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I think those honors will end up belonging to Bill Clinton.

    DOMA, DADT, gutting welfare, murdering half a million children, NAFTA, deregulation, pushing hard to increase the number of cops and militarizing them.

    We’ll see. It may be a close race.

  • nicho

    This should be illegal.

  • nicho

    I took the liberty of editing your comment:

    Obama still has two more years to screw things up but he’s already shaping up as the worst president ever.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I think the more important question is how blacks will react to the ongoing crises caused by racism once he’s retired. He only made things worse with his union busting and studied indifference to unemployment and the on going housing crisis.

    http://blackagendareport.com/content/obama%E2%80%99s-anti-black-rant

  • Indigo

    I wonder if it has occurred to him yet, or to his O-bots, that a disastrous administration as the legacy of our first Black president has a chance of resonating negatively into future elections, possibly limiting options for other Blacks? I bet that thought has crossed Michelle’s mind.

  • Indigo

    This is your entrepreneurial government in action.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Obama still has two more years to screw things up but he’s already shaping up as the worst president on environmental questions.

    That’s because he’s a lap dog of the rich.

    Zichal is just following his lead.

  • lynchie

    None of these former insiders is even slightly embarrassed that they are given their marching orders by the respective industry, deliver as asked and then move on to take their rewards. frankly it makes working for a living a joke what with congress all paid either under the table or offshore or insider trading (which they made legal).
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/04/16/177496734/how-congress-quietly-overhauled-its-insider-trading-law

    So now we know there is no restrictions on lying, dicking someone you are not married to, insider trading, taking money from lobbyists, etc., etc. The rot is absolute and insidious.

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