On Thursday the White House promoted Mike Boots, the Council on Environmental Quality's chief of staff, to serve as the council's acting director.

Boots "has been an integral part of every major environmental decision of the administration, often serving as a key liaison between agencies and White House senior staff," CEQ spokeswoman Taryn Tuss wrote in an e-mail. "He helped develop the President’s Climate Action Plan and is a strong force behind ensuring agencies are on track to implement it."

He has also worked on establishing national monuments, Gulf Coast restoration and shaping a National Ocean Policy, Tuss added.

The administration has been looking for a replacement for Nancy Sutley, who recently left her position as CEQ chair. One White House official, who asked not to be identified because the matter involved a personnel process, said the search for a permanent chair "is ongoing."

Carol Browner, who served as President Obama's top climate adviser during his first term, wrote in an e-mail, "Mike has been the constant thread within the White House and CEQ in developing energy policy from cars to carbon. He's been able to coordinate across agencies, up and down the ladder of command, and across multiple issues to deliver on environment and energy policy."

Before joining CEQ's staff in 2009 as an associate director overseeing the natural resources portfolio, Boots served as vice president for sustainable markets at SeaWeb, where he worked with private sector interests such as the seafood and shipping industries to develop ocean conservation policies.