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Heather Zichal, Former Top Obama Energy Aide, Named Fellow at Industry-Funded Atlantic Council

By Steve Horn - Posted on 22 January 2015

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Heather Zichal, former top climate and energy aide to President Barack Obama his top aide in crafting his 2008 presidential campaign energy platform, has joined the industry-funded Atlantic Council as a fellow at its Global Energy Center.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As revealed in multiple articles by DeSmogBlog, Zichal also sits on the Board of Directors of Cheniere, the first company to receive a permit from the Obama Administration to export gas obtained via the controversial hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") process in 2012. Cheniere is one among dozens of the corporate donors to Atlantic Council.

Other oil and gas industry donors to the Atlantic Council include Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP and many more. 

"At the Atlantic Council, Zichal will focus on tomorrow’s energy challenges through global energy security, the responsible development of energy resources, and strategic foresight," according to a press release announcing the hire.

On January 27, Zichal will moderate an Atlantic Council panel in Washington, DC titled, "‘The Road to Paris’ Climate Series: Assessing US and Chinese National Plans and Their Potential Impacts on a Paris Agreement."

Not Just Heather Zichal 

Zichal follows in the footsteps of other former Obama Administration officials who have passed through the revolving door and now work for the Atlantic Council on energy issues. 

They include:

-David Goldwyn, a former head of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources under former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Goldwyn also headed up and help found the State Department's Global Shale Gas Initiative.

Among the many other hats he wears, Goldwyn serves as a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and as the chair of the Atlantic Council's Energy Advisory Group.

"In that position, Goldwyn will spearhead the transformation of the Council’s energy program, providing strategic advice on the focus and direction of the program, and take a leading role in recruitment of the program’s director and experts," explained a press release announcing Goldwyn's ascendancy to a chairmanship. "The Energy Advisory Group will serve as a policy advisory board for energy issues across the Atlantic Council."

Goldwyn has been an influential voice in support of the reforms opening up Mexico to international oil and gas corporations, authoring two reports on the subject for the Atlantic Council.

-Carlos Pascuala former head of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources under both Hillary Clinton and current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the aftermath of Goldwyn's time at the helm. Pascual serves on the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Council.

Carlos Pascual
Carlos Pascual  Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons 

-Cynthia Quarterman, former administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) under the Obama Administration.

Cynthia Quarterman
Cynthia Quarterman  Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Transportation

Before heading up PHMSA, Quarterman worked as an attorney at the corporate law firm Steptoe & Johnson, "where she represented producers and pipeline companies in matters before the Department of the Interior, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Transportation," according to the Atlantic Council.

Neither the Atlantic Council nor Heather Zichal responded to an email query from DeSmogBlog.

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