Could ARB’s Mary Nichols become the new U.S. EPA chief?

Even before election day, speculation is mounting over the makeup of a Barack Obama cabinet, and one top California regulator is seen as a possibility to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Mary Nichols.

Nichols currently serves as chair of the Air Resources Board, which is California's top air-quality regulatory body and

a national pioneer in curbing air pollution.

The Guardian newspaper, in its Washington rundown of possible members of an Obama administration, said Nichols has "eye-catching qualifications." Nichols first served as ARB chair in 1978-1983 under former Gov. Jerry Brown, then served as Resources Secretary in Gov. Gray Davis administration.

She also served as a senior EPA official in Bill Clinton's administration. She was named to her current job as head of the ARB last year by. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. She also worked as an attorney with the National Resources Defense Council.

"Her extraordinarily deep resume would be hard to match if government experience factors heavily in Obama's decision," the newspaper said.

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