Politico is reporting that environmentalists and green lobbying groups aren’t exactly crying in their beer over the rather abrupt upcoming departure of Bill Daley from the White House grounds. We previously noted that Daley quickly developed a reputation as a prickly fellow who had trouble playing nicely with others, particularly congressional leaders. But this new view seems to indicate that the Chicagoan was also becoming something of a drag on Obama’s base, angering them over his failure to prove his bona fides regarding causes near and dear to liberal activists.

Bill Daley left plenty of fingerprints on energy policy during his yearlong stint in the White House, but environmentalists will remember him most for undercutting EPA’s attempts to set tough new air pollution limits.

The outgoing White House chief of staff, who announced his departure Monday, is seen as the person to blame for successfully urging President Barack Obama last summer to halt the ozone standards.

Daley’s views became clear, greens say, during an August meeting with the American Lung Association and other public health officials. There, Obama’s top West Wing aide doubted the quality of their polling data and cited industry concerns about job losses connected to a tougher EPA rule.

“The guy was playing this as if it was some sort of backroom Chicago political deal,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. “Unfortunately, he was dealing away the health of millions of Americans. I say good riddance, goodbye, get out now.”

Imagine the surprise everyone must be feeling. A guy like Bill Daley coming in and sitting down to start cutting political deals, ideology or principles be damned? Why… it’s almost as if they’re describing somebody straight out of the Chicago political machine! (/sarc)

The folks doing the griping cite Daley’s influence as a key factor in Obama’s decision to delay implementation of new EPA ozone standards last summer. They were also apparently alarmed at his willingness to meet and greet with a variety of powerful groups including the Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Chemistry Council, National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and more. Of course, we shouldn’t take such stories as indications that Bill Daley is a closet, pro-energy conservative in the secret places of his heart. He was good at cutting deals, first last and always. And those were the players who needed to be at the table to make it happen. It shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise to anyone, really.