President Obama announced his intention to nominate Scott O'Malia, a Republican staff member on a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). O'Malia currently is a minority clerk for the Energy and Water Subcommittee, where he has focused on expanding U.S. investment in clean energy technologies. Prior to joining the appropriations panel, O'Malia was a staff member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, with energy trading and domestic oil and natural gas production as his chief interests. O'Malia also established the Washington, DC, office of Mirant Corp., where he worked to establish rules and standards for corporate risk management and energy trading among wholesale power producers. He began his stint on Capitol Hill in 1992, working for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). O'Malia received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. His nomination will require the approval of the full Senate. If confirmed, O'Malia will serve out the remainder of the term of former Acting CFTC Chairman Walter Lukken, who left the CFTC in July. His term would expire on April 13, 2010.

President Obama announced his intention to nominate Harris D. Sherman, the two-time head of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, as under secretary of Agriculture for Natural Resources and Environment. Sherman, who also serves on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation that spearheaded environmentally stringent drilling regulations, won praise for his emphasis on air and water quality and wildlife habitat issues during the state's recent natural gas boom, the Colorado Independent reported. But other environmentalists were quick to criticize Sherman's appointment because of his role in developing Colorado's roadless rule, which they contend permits too many road-building exceptions for developers, including oil and gas. Sherman will need to be confirmed by the full Senate.

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