Energy guru, celebrated author and "green cowboy" S. David Freeman, the man who helped form the EPA and put solar panels on the White House -- has been tapped as deputy mayor in charge of L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa's environmental agenda.

The appointment is being lauded by government officials and environmentalists alike. Freeman will be replacing Obama appointee Nancy Sutley and brings an impressive lifetime of accomplishments to what could be considered one of the most environmentally challenged cities in the country.

Freeman helped shape the energy policy of the Carter era, and by funding the first wave of research into solar and wind technologies in the early 70's can be thanked for kick-starting the renewable energy industry. One of his first projects under Villaraigosa will be to revive a narrowly defeated solar energy plan for the city.

Though 83 years old, Freeman is often referred to as "the smartest man in the room" and was the head of the Port of Los Angeles after serving on the boards of major utility companies in New York and California, including the L.A. Department of Water & Power.

His bestseller Winning our Energy Independence: An Energy Insider Shows How describes in detail the urgent need of weaning the U.S. from what he calls the "three poisons" -- coal, oil, nuclear.

He believes that energy and climate pose the greatest threats America has ever faced.

As he says, "Dangers of today are greater than World War II because ... environmental degradation affects more than just one generation."

The 'Green Cowboy' replaces Nancy Sutley
Former Carter advisor and energy guru S. David Freeman will become the 'environmental mayor' of L.A.