At California Resources agency, Chrisman out, Lester Snow may be in

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The longtime head of the state's Resources Agency — a close advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger — will step down at the start of next month.

When the governor nominated Mike Chrisman for the top environmental post in California seven years ago, people who conserve and consume the state's resources approved the choice.

Chrisman headed the state Fish and Game Commission before he stepped into the resources secretary's shoes. In his present job he's maintained a high profile — in part because of California's global warming policy.

Chrisman attended the climate change talks in Copenhagen, negotiating forestry agreements that could let California businesses offset the carbon they produce with carbon from forests elsewhere.

Chrisman also has pushed to move Marine Life Protection Act hearings forward, a decade after the law that protects ocean ecosystems in state waters came into existence.

Schwarzenegger has appointed Lester Snow to take over as resources chief when Chrisman leaves on February 1. When Snow managed the state's water resources, he reported to man whose job he could inherit. The state Senate must confirm Snow before he can take over.