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Deval's environmental pick for Cabinet labeled an insider

Gov.-elect Deval Patrick yesterday appointed cabinet chiefs on the environment and economy who now face the the tall order of keeping his campaign promises to make housing more affordable and realign state policy toward wind power and other sources of renewable energy.

But political opponents wasted no time yesterday pouncing on the choice of Mass Inc. president Ian Bowles for secretary of energy and environmental affairs, labeling him an insider who will seek to satisfy the state’s environmental lobby.

“Ian Bowles has the unenviable task of honoring the countless promises Deval Patrick made to environmental special interests,” said Brian Dodge, a spokesman for the state’s Republican Party.

Bowles has close ties to Republican Gloria Larson, a leader of Patrick’s transition team who worked with him at Mass Inc., a policy think tank. Larson sits on Keyspan Energy’s board of directors.

Bowles brushed aside questions about his allegiances and pointed to 20 years of experience in environmental policymaking, including a stint in the Clinton administration as director of the White House Counsel on Environmental Quality.

“The governor-elect has been clear that he wants to make the renewable energy industry a vital part of our economic development,” said Bowles, adding that he expects to work closely with Patrick and House Speaker Sal DiMasi.

Patrick yesterday also named real estate developer Dan O’Connell as Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. In an interview, O’Connell said he will immediately work to combat rising home foreclosures and push for changes to moderate the state’s absurdly high cost of living.

O’Connell, who has guided key development projects at Fan Pier and North Point on the Boston-Cambridge line, said a key goal is to counteract the migration of young people out of state.

By Casey Ross
Boston Herald Reporter