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Posted at 04:12 PM ET, 11/26/2012

Names swirl for possible Energy, EPA jobs

Steven Chu, U.S. energy secretary, is expected to leave the Cabinet. (Joshua Roberts - Bloomberg)
Among the names being bandied around for a possible successor to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, we’re hearing two a bit louder of late: former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress.

Chu hasn’t officially announced his departure, but it is widely expected that he’ll be leaving the administration before too long. It’s thought that Podesta, who was chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton and co-chaired President Obama’s transition team, would bring a savvier political sense to the job than did Chu, whose background was as a lauded (as in Nobel Prize-winning) academic. Ritter has also been mentioned as a candidate to head up the Interior Department, if and when Secretary Ken Salazar departs.

Another spot likely to open up is that of Environmental Protection Agency chief, with current top dog Lisa Jackson all but certain to step down. We’re hearing that among the names mentioned to replace her, Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe is being touted by those who think his relatively cordial relationship with business and his position as a career staffer would make him much less of a lightening rod for criticism (read:easier to confirm) than some other potential candidates for the gig.

And speaking of that always-spinning revolving door, the Mary Schapiro announced Monday that she’s stepping down as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, our colleague Dina ElBoghdady reports. Obama plans to name Elisse Walter, one of the SEC’s Democratic commissioners, to replace her.

Meanwhile, David Kappos, director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, announced to staff Monday morning that he’s stepping down.

By  |  04:12 PM ET, 11/26/2012

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