Born April 20, 1962, Nancy Sutley received her B.A. from Cornell University and a M.A. in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Sutley is a self-described advocate of environmental justice as a civil-rights issue; she maintains that the threat of man-caused global warming must be a leading priority in government economic and social policy. A Latino herself, she is also active in working to bring people of Latino heritage into the process of government.
Sutley has long record of environmental activism in government, both in California and Washington, DC. During the Bill Clinton administration, she worked simultaneously as a senior policy adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Region 9 office in San Francisco, and as a special assistant to Carol Browner, who served as chief administrator of the EPA for eight years.
After the Clinton years, from 1999 to 2003 Sutley served as the deputy secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency. During this time, she also worked as an energy advisor to Governor Gray Davis until the latter lost a recall election in 2003. Sutley went on to serve as a member of the California State Water Resources Control Board until 2005, when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed her as the city’s deputy mayor for energy and environment. Villaraigosa also appointed Sutley as his representative on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sutley was a member of Senator (and presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender steering committee. On December 15, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama appointed Sutley to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), making her the first openly gay appointee of Obama’s new administration.
As Chairwoman of the CEQ, Sutley has been instrumental in the Obama administration’s push to build a “clean energy economy” through Recovery Act funding. In this massive big-government initiative, Sutley works alongside several other Obama appointees, including Carol Browner (Energy “Czar” and committed socialist), Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.
Sutley and the CEQ came under particular scrutiny when it was revealed in 2009 that Van Jones, President Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar” and a member of the CEQ, was a communist with a twenty-year history of radical activism. Sutley initially had championed Jones as “a strong voice for green jobs,” but once the scandal snowballed and eventually forced Jones to resign, Sutley issued only a short statement on Jones' “hard work” and dedication to green jobs and renewable resources.