Overnight Energy: Walden wins Energy gavel | Trump looks at Dems to head Energy, Interior

Overnight Energy: Walden wins Energy gavel | Trump looks at Dems to head Energy, Interior
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BREAKING: WALDEN TO HEAD ENERGY AND COMMERCE: Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will be the next chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Republicans elected Walden on Thursday. He will succeed Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), whose chairmanship was term-limited.

More below...

RED-STATE DEMS FOR TRUMP'S CABINET? Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE is reportedly considering two red-state Democratic senators for Cabinet positions.

Trump is set to meet with Democratic Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa Al Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D-N.D.) on Friday in New York.


Reuters reported Thursday that Trump is considering her for potential spots at the helm of the Interior or Energy Departments, both of which would intersect with Heitkamp's work on energy policies in the Senate.

When asked if she would consider a Cabinet appointment, Heitkamp told reporters Thursday it is "way premature" to discuss, but noted the importance of "bipartisan cooperation."

"I think that when the president-elect asks you to come to visit with him, it's a wonderful opportunity to talk about mutual goals and mutual aspirations for our country," Heitkamp said, adding that her top priority is her home state.

Trump is also contemplating an Energy Department position for Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSunday shows - Recession fears dominate Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Trump vows to 'always uphold the Second Amendment' amid ongoing talks on gun laws MORE (D-W.Va.), according to reports.

Manchin told Politico Thursday that he doesn't have a meeting scheduled with Trump, but is committed to helping workers in his coal-dependent state.

"If I can do anything that would help my state of West Virginia, and my country, I would be happy to talk to anybody," Manchin said. "Other than that, I haven't heard anything. ... I have nothing scheduled."

Tapping either Heitkamp or Manchin -- or both -- for cabinet positions would likely help Republicans add to their Senate majority.

Republicans would be heavily favored in a special election to replace Heitkamp. Democrats control the governor's mansion in West Virginia, where Manchin would be replaced by a gubernatorial appointment.

Both Heitkamp and Manchin face tough re-election contests in 2018.

Read more about Heitkamp here, and Manchin here.

And Tillerson for State?: Trump may also be considering ExxonMobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson to run the State Department.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted that out Thursday, adding Tillerson's name to Trump's shortlist for secretary of State.

Exxon is the United State's largest oil company, with operations around the world and in dozens of nations.

It has numerous joint ventures with Russia's state oil company Rosneft, and last lost more than $1 billion due to the sanctions on that country, according to RT, a Russian state-funded news outlet

Tillerson has some disagreements with Trump, notably on climate change. Exxon supports both the Paris climate agreement and a carbon tax, both of which Trump vehemently opposes.

Read more here.

MEET THE NEW CHAIRMAN: The Republican Steering Committee on Thursday elected Oregon Rep. Greg Walden the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel.

"Look this was tough," Walden said after the vote. "John Shimkus and Joe Barton are both good friends and they are excellent legislators. They both have roles where they will continue to be leaders."

Support for Walden's elevation to chairman surged after two successful terms as head of the House GOP's campaign arm, a tenure that endeared him to both leadership and the House GOP Steering Committee members who elected him on Thursday.

A nine-term lawmaker, Walden has experience on both the Energy panel and within the industries over which it has jurisdiction.

Walden's portfolio as chairman next year will include overseeing the American energy sector, assisting leadership on a repeal of ObamaCare and tackling issues as diverse as telecommunications and consumer protection.

Read more here.

AGENCY SUED OVER COAL MORATORIUM: Two Utah counties are suing the Bureau of Land Management over its coal-leasing moratorium.

Kane and Garfield counties filed the suit in Utah federal court late Wednesday, calling the moratorium "an act of unwarranted agency overkill."

"In enforcing the Moratorium and bypassing substantial and immediate financial returns, the BLM is disregarding its statutory fiduciary duty, as set forth in the Mineral Leasing Act ... to maximize economic recovery for coal mined on federal lands," the counties state in their complaint.

The dispute, however, could be short-lived. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to lift the moratorium and indicated that he could take action on Jan. 20, the day he takes office.

The moratorium was implemented in January while the administration undertakes its comprehensive environmental review of the coal program.

Read more here.


Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) is now objecting to some details in the nuclear energy bill that he negotiated with lawmakers and Exelon Corp., Crain's Chicago Business reports.

The Western Energy Alliance has promoted Kathleen Sgamma to be its president, the Denver Business Journal reports.

The northernmost city in the United States has its old name back. Barrow, Alaska restored its indigenous name, Utqiagvik, as of Dec. 1, NPR News reports.


Check out Thursday's stories ...

-Walden to head powerful Energy and Commerce Committee
-Trump adds 'mother in love with fracking' to EPA team
-Sanders mocks House Science Committee for tweeting Breitbart article
-Scarborough: Trump considering Exxon CEO for secretary of State
-Trump considering Dem senator for Energy secretary: report
-Fight over 'Buy America' provision erupts in Congress
-Utah counties sue over Obama's coal moratorium
-Princess Cruises to pay record $40M fine for polluting the seas
-Dem senator to meet with Trump
-Ivanka Trump wants to speak out on climate change: report

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