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Dan Utech has been named to succeed Heather Zichal as President Barack Obama's top advisor on energy and climate change. Zichal, who held the position for five years, stepped down last week.

In a statement, Obama wished Zichal well on her new endeavors and highlighted her contributions.

"She crafted my energy and climate change agenda in the 2008 campaign, then again on my presidential transition, and as my top energy and climate advisor at the White House, she has been a strong and steady voice for policies that reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, protect public health and our environment, and combat the threat of global climate change,” the president said.

According to a Reuters report, Utech has served as an advisor to former Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Previously, he was an aide in the U.S. Senate. In his new role, Utech will advise the president on various clean energy and environmental issues, including Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Announced in June, the plan outlines initiatives to help cut U.S. carbon pollution, such as more renewable energy development on federal lands and emission limits on new power plants.

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, has welcomed Utech to the new role.

"Dan is a great choice to take on this challenging assignment,” Kiernan said in a statement. “He has the inter-agency coordination skills that are critical right now as the president moves [the administration's] various clean energy programs forward. We're eager to work with him."


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