Energy Secretary Steven Chu is resigning from the Obama administration, as President Obama embarks on his second term, an administration official confirms to First Read.
Chu is the latest in the recent cabinet shuffle that has seen some of the more diverse members exit, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to Lisa Jackson at the EPA and Ken Salazar at Interior.
"As a Nobel Prize winning scientist, Steve brought to the Energy Department a unique understanding of both the urgent challenge presented by climate change and the tremendous opportunity that clean energy represents for our economy," President Obama said, in part, in a statement. "And during his time as Secretary, Steve helped my Administration move America towards real energy independence. Over the past four years, we have doubled the use of renewable energy, dramatically reduced our dependence on foreign oil, and put our country on a path to win the global race for clean energy jobs. Thanks to Steve, we also expanded support for our brightest engineers and entrepreneurs as they pursue groundbreaking innovations that could transform our energy future. I am grateful that Steve agreed to join in my Cabinet and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
Chu, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, also raised the ire of Republicans because of his past comments on gas prices and for administration loan guarantees to the defunct energy company Solyndra.
Before Chu joined the administration, he told the Wall Street Journal in September 2008: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe."
The idea was that increases gas prices would change people's behavior, and they would use less gas. Chu walked that back in a 2012 Senate hearing, saying he'd done everything in his power as Energy Secretary "to reduce those prices." Asked about his 2008 comments at the hearing, he said: "I no longer share that view."
The Energy Department touts that out of the stimulus there was increased funding for home weatherization, electric drive vehicles, renewable energy, and modernizing the Smart Grid.
Here's the latest list of who's in and who's out in the Obama cabinet.
Out (with replacement, if known):
Hillary Clinton at State (John Kerry confirmed)
Leon Panetta at Defense (Chuck Hagel nominated)
Tim Geithner at Treasury (Jack Lew nominated)
Hilda Solis at Labor
Lisa Jackson at EPA
Ken Salazar at Interior
Ray LaHood at Transportation
Steven Chu at Energy
In (at least for now):
Janet Napolitano (DHS)
Arne Duncan (Education)
Tom Vilsack (Agriculture)
Eric Holder (Justice)
Kathleen Sebelius (HHS)
Eric Shinseki (Veterans Affairs)