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Second Obama environmental adviser to step down

By Valerie Volcovici and Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will see a second top environmental adviser step down when Nancy Sutley, the chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, departs in February, the White House confirmed on Tuesday.

Since the start of Obama's first term, Sutley led the council, which coordinates environmental efforts between federal agencies and helps develop policy.

"Under her leadership, federal agencies are meeting the goals I set for them at the beginning of the administration by using less energy, reducing pollution, and saving taxpayer dollars," Obama said in a statement.

"Her efforts have made it clear that a healthy environment and a strong economy aren't mutually exclusive - they can go hand in hand."

Sutley's departure follows that of Heather Zichal, Obama's top climate policy adviser, who left the White House last month. Zichal's deputy, Dan Utech, has now filled that role.

Although the council has played a behind-the-scenes role in environmental policy during Obama's tenure, the White House said Sutley was a major architect of Obama's climate plan, which he announced in June.

Sutley was part of a team that helped Obama craft new fuel efficiency standards and new standards for carbon pollution from power plants, the White House said.

An official from the council said she plans to return to her home in California and will pursue other opportunities in the environment and energy arena.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Roberta Rampton, editing by Ros Krasny and Christopher Wilson)

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