The confirmation of President Obama's key environmental nominees - EPA Administrator-designate Lisa Jackson and White House Council of Environmental Quality Chair-designate Nancy Sutley - have been put on temporary hold by Republican Senators. The main concern is whether whether their authority would be superseded by Carol Browner, President Obama's Climate and Energy Policy Advisor in the White House.
Browner's position does not require Congressional confirmation, and many Republicans remember her strong pro-environment record when she herself served as EPA Administrator during the Bill Clinton Administration. During their confirmation hearings, Senators from both parties had queried Jackson and Sutley, as well as Energy Secretary-designate Steven Chu, about their ability to effectively do their jobs given the presence of Browner in the newly created White House advisory role. Democrats appeared to be convinced, but a spokesman for Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) has indicated that the Senator asked for Jackson's name to be taken off the list of candidates slated for fast confirmation.
The hold, which is Senate prerogative, isn't likely to be anything more than a temporary glitch, however, as Jackson, Sutley and Chu are all expected to be confirmed easily.