Nancy Sutley

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Nancy Sutley
Nancy Sutley official portrait.jpg
Chairperson of the Council on Environmental Quality
In office
January 22, 2009 – February, 2014
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byJames Connaughton
Succeeded byMichael Boots
Personal details
Born (1962-04-20) April 20, 1962 (age 57)
New York City, New York, United States
Political partyDemocratic Party
Alma materCornell University
Harvard University

Nancy Helen Sutley[1] led the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for five years during the administration of Barack Obama.[2][3] She was unanimously confirmed for that post by the United States Senate on January 22, 2009.[1] The CEQ coordinates federal environmental efforts[4] and works with agencies other than White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives; the chair serves as the principal environmental policy advisor to the president.

Prior to her leadership of the CEQ, Sutley served as deputy mayor for Energy and Environment in Los Angeles, California, and as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's appointment to the board of directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.[5] Mayor Villaraigosa turned to her to achieve his goal of transforming L.A. into one of the greenest big cities in America. Sutley retrofitted 500 of the city's oldest buildings to make them more energy efficient and imposed environmental standards on new large communities.[6][citation needed]

Sutley announced that she would step down as Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality in February, 2014.[7][8]

In July 2014, she was appointed as Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.[9]

Early life and education[edit]

Sutley was born April 20, 1962 in New York and was raised in Queens, New York.[10] Her parents came to the United States from Argentina.[11] She holds a master of public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. degree in government from Cornell University.[5]


From 1999 to 2003, Sutley served at the California Environmental Protection Agency as deputy secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations.[12] During that period she was the top energy advisor to then Governor Gray Davis, and supported a requirement for Los Angeles to produce 20 percent of its power from renewable sources.[13] She was also a member of the California State Water Resources Control Board, and a member of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District board of directors.[13]

During the Clinton Administration, she was initially a senior policy advisor to the San Francisco regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and later served as special assistant to EPA administrator Carol Browner, in Washington, D.C.[12] Later, Sutley served as a member of Hillary Clinton's Southern California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender steering committee.[10] She was also a prominent supporter of Senator Clinton's primary campaign.

Council on Environmental Quality[edit]

Upon being appointed as chair of the Council on Environmental Quality in January 2009, Sutley was the first prominent gay person named to a senior role in the Obama administration.[1]

As CEQ chair Sutley defined her mission as translating Obama's green agenda across government agencies, preserving natural heritage sites such as the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, and the Great Lakes, and putting science at the heart of decision-making.[14] She promoted measures to conserve energy in the White House, such as installing low-flush toilets, adding sensors that automatically turn off lights in unused areas, and introducing the use of recycling bins.[14] As part of the Department of Energy's demonstration project showing that American solar technologies are available, she led plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b c Phillips, Kate (January 22, 2009). "More Obama Cabinet Nominees Confirmed". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  2. ^ Sidoti, Liz (December 10, 2008). "Dem source: Obama to name environmental figure". Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-13.
  3. ^ Jackson, David (December 3, 2013). "Obama environmental adviser is leaving". USA Today. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  4. ^ "Council on Environmental Quality | USAGov". Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  5. ^ a b "Nancy Sutley" (bio). Hydrogen Engineering Research Consortium, University of California, Los Angeles. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008.
  6. ^ "Panel Event" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  7. ^ Banerjee, Neela (February 14, 2014). "Obama's environmental advisor set to return to Los Angeles". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  8. ^ "White House Enviro Council Chairwoman Sutley Stepping Down" (subscription required). National Journal. December 3, 2013.
  9. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (July 2, 2014; updated August 30, 2017). "Nancy Sutley, former White House environmental quality aide, comes to DWP". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  10. ^ a b "The New Team: Nancy Sutley". The New York Times. February 11, 2014. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  11. ^ "Council on Environmental Quality: Who is Nancy Sutley?". AllGov. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  12. ^ a b Hobson, Margaret Kriz (December 18, 2009). "Painting Green Goals." National Journal. Retrieved via Biography in Context Database, Gale, 2018-02-05.
  13. ^ a b Broder, John M. (December 13, 2008). "Nancy Sutley". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
  14. ^ a b Goldenberg, Suzanne (June 2, 2009). "Profile: Nancy Sutley". The Guardian (U.S. edition). Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  15. ^ Capiello, Dana (October 5, 2010). "Here comes the sun: White House to go solar". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-02-06
  16. ^ Eilperin, Juliet (May 9, 2014). "Solar panels here to stay atop White House roof". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-02-06.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
James Connaughton
Chairperson of the Council on Environmental Quality