Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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6/3/11: John Bryson ’69LLB

A longtime utility executive who also cofounded a leading environmental organization? A nominee for Secretary of Commerce who wins praise from both the business and eco-lobbies? Sounds too good to be true. If some congressional Republicans have their way, it will be.

John Bryson ’69LLB, who helped found the Natural Resources Defense Council soon after graduating from Yale Law School, spent 18 years running a California electric company. Announcing his nomination on Tuesday, President Barack Obama emphasized Bryson’s “decades of business experience across a range of industries—from his role on the boards of major companies like Disney and Boeing to his leadership in the clean energy industry.” The US Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable swiftly came out in support.

Yet Republican opposition was equally swift, with Rep. Darrell Issa calling Bryson a “green evangelist” and Sen. James Inhofe saying he will work “actively to defeat” the nomination.

If confirmed, Bryson will succeed another Yalie, Gary Locke ’72, whom Obama has tapped to become ambassador to China.

Filed under environment
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