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Name: Sutley, Nancy
Current Position: Previous Chair

Nancy Sutley’s selection as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality not only pleased environmentalists, but gay rights activists as well—thanks to Sutley’s “green” credentials and the fact that she is openly gay. Throughout her career, Sutley has been a hard-working, behind-the-scenes bureaucrat with a low public profile.

Born April 20, 1962, in New York, Sutley was raised in Queens. Her mother is an immigrant from Argentina. After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science in 1980, she received her BA in government from Cornell University and her masters in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Sutley worked as an industry economist for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, before becoming policy director of the National Independent Energy Producers trade association.
During the Clinton administration, Sutley was a senior policy advisor to the regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 9 in San Francisco and a special assistant to EPA’s top official, Carol Browner, in Washington, DC.
From 1999-2003, Sutley served as California Governor Gray Davis’ energy advisor, managing state and federal regulatory, legislative, financial and press matters. During the state’s energy crisis, she raised questions about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s oversight of electricity markets in California. She also served as the Deputy Secretary for Policy and Intergovernmental Relations within the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), where she advised on water and air pollution policy, lobbied federal agencies and Congress, and established budget and legislative priorities. Sutley also helped to draft a statewide policy on environmental justice to shield low-income communities from an over-concentration of high-polluting projects.
From 2003 to 2005, Sutley served on the California State Water Resources Control Board, which is responsible for protecting water quality and resources throughout California. 
In 2005, she joined the administration of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment. Working behind the scenes, she has been the point person for Villaraigosa’s campaign to make Los Angeles the “greenest big city in America.” This includes requiring Los Angeles to produce 20% of its power from renewable sources, moving the Department of Water and Power to wind and solar energy, and replacing 16,000 diesel trucks at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Sutley also has supervised the Million Trees program, which ran into difficulties after urban tree advocates complained that it relied too much on tree giveaways—particularly the distribution of seedlings that have a high mortality rate. And she has served as the mayor’s appointment to the board of directors for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
During the 2008 Democratic primary for president, Sutley was an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton, serving as a member of the Southern California lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender steering committee. She contributed $1,000 to Clinton’s campaign, and later gave $250 to Barack Obama.
After the election, Sutley joined the presidential transition team reviewing the EPA, thanks to her connection to Browner, a senior adviser to Obama on environmental and energy matters.
Following the announcement of Sutley as the next chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, some environmentalists predicted she would be a key player in shaping the Obama administration’s policies on climate change and the environment. Others who know her, though, said she would more likely be “a technician, not a policymaker.”
However she operates on the environmental front, Sutley’s appointment pleased many in the gay rights movement. “President-elect Obama’s nomination of Nancy Sutley is another step toward full equality for gay Americans,” said Chuck Wolfe, president of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute. “It sends a signal to young people that they can participate in their government at its highest levels, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender or ethnicity.”
The New Team (New York Times)
Nancy Sutley a low-key but highly effective leader (by David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times)
Transforming Los Angeles into a Sustainable City (by Micki Krimmel, WorldChanging)
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