Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be leaving his post, the White House confirmed Friday, exiting the administration at the start of President Obama's second term after a rocky tenure.
In his resignation letter, Chu said he intend to stay on board "past
the end of February" to help the department find his successor.
Chu's leadership has drawn sharp criticism from Republicans who
questioned his controversial support for and handling of a $528 million
federal loan to solar panel maker Solyndra before the company filed for
Solyndra was the first renewable-energy company to receive a loan
guarantee under the 2009 stimulus law, and the Obama administration
frequently promoted the company as a model for its clean energy program.
Chu attended a 2009 groundbreaking when the loan was announced, and
Obama visited the company's Fremont, Calif., headquarters the next year.
The company's implosion in 2011 and revelations that the administration
hurried a review of the loan in time for the groundbreaking become an
embarrassment for Chu and Obama and a rallying cry for GOP critics of
the administration's green energy program.
Chu’s exit also leaves the White House with openings in the top three departments that oversee energy and environmental policy.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson have also announced they will step down. (Full story)