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Fossil Fuels

Trump taps Dan Brouillette to replace Rick Perry to lead the DOE

Currently deputy secretary, Brouillette was formerly an auto industry lobbyist

by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN
November 11, 2019

Photo of Dan Brouillette.
Credit: US Department of Energy

President Donald J. Trump formally nominated Dan Brouillette on Nov. 7 to serve as the next US Secretary of Energy. Brouillette, currently deputy secretary of energy, would replace Rick Perry if confirmed by the Senate.

Before becoming DOE’s second in command, Brouillette was an executive at the United Services Automobile Association, a financial institution, as well as at Ford. His path at DOE is similar to that of Andrew Wheeler at the Environmental Protection Agency and David Bernhardt at the Interior Department; both moved from lobbying and industry to number two at their respective agencies and then on to head their departments.

The next stop for Brouillette will be hearings before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Committee chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has promised a quick confirmation.

In addition to his work in the private sector, Brouillette has previously held positions in government. He was chief of staff to the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce from 2003 to 2004 and was assistant secretary of energy for congressional and intergovernmental affairs from 2001 to 2003. In addition, he is a former state energy regulator, having served as a member of the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board from 2013 to 2016, according to DOE. He also was legislative director for Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin (R).

Brouillette, a strong proponent of US oil and natural gas development, is expected to continue the Trump administration’s push for fossil fuel production and use.

“We applaud Dan Brouillette’s nomination as secretary of energy,” says Jennifer Scott, a spokesperson for the American Chemistry Council, which lobbies on behalf of the chemical industry. “Thanks to shale gas, the US chemistry industry has announced $204 billion in capital investment in new facilities and expansions over the past decade. We look forward to working with Mr. Brouillette and leaders in Congress to enact an energy strategy that fully develops America’s diverse sources, promotes energy efficiency and recognizes our industry’s contributions to solutions that help save energy and reduce GHG emissions.”

Although Brouillette cleared Senate confirmation for his current DOE position with some ease, he could face difficulties this time due to ongoing impeachment proceedings that in part include DOE’s and Perry’s role in Ukrainian natural gas issues. Perry announced in October that he planned to step down later this year.



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