Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Trump taps deputy energy secretary to replace Perry | Praises pick Dan Brouillette as 'total professional' | Perry denies quid pro quo over Ukraine

SAY HI TO THE NEW GUY: President Trump announced Friday that he plans to nominate Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette to replace outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

In a series of tweets, Trump described Brouillette as a "total professional" and said his experience in the energy sector is "unparalleled." Trump also praised Perry for doing an "outstanding job" and said he would leave at the end of the year.

"I want to thank Secretary of Energy Rick Perry for the outstanding job he has done. He will be leaving at the end of the year to pursue other interests. Rick was a great Governor of Texas and a great Secretary of Energy," Trump tweeted.

"He is also my friend! At the same time, I am pleased to nominate Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to be the new Secretary of Energy. Dan's experience in the sector is unparalleled. A total professional, I have no doubt that Dan will do a great job!" the president wrote.

Trump had announced Perry's plans to resign on Thursday.

Brouillette's background: Brouillette served in the Energy Department during the George W. Bush administration. He was nominated by Trump to the No. 2 role and easily confirmed by the Senate in a 79-17 vote in August 2017.

He served as an Energy Department assistant secretary between 2001 and 2003 and also worked as chief of staff to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Before joining the Trump administration, Brouillette served as senior vice president and head of public policy for USAA, a financial services firm. He also worked as a vice president at Ford Motor Co. prior to that.

Once he is formally nominated, Brouillette will need to participate in a confirmation hearing before the full Senate votes on his nomination. He is unlikely to be a particularly controversial nominee given the ease of his first confirmation.

Read more on the nomination here

 

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PERRY'S FAREWELL: Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose dealings with Ukraine have become a focus of the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump, will step down from his Cabinet post at the end of the year, Trump said Thursday.

The president told reporters at the start of a ribbon-cutting event at a Louis Vuitton factory in Alvorado, Texas, that he already has a replacement for Perry, but he did not say who it would be. Trump said he would make the announcement shortly.

"Rick and I have been talking for six months. In fact, I thought he might go a bit sooner. But he's got some very big plans. He's going to be very successful. We have his successor, we'll announce it pretty soon," Trump said.

Trump spoke fondly of Perry during the event, introducing the former Texas governor as a "very good friend of mine," adding "I'm going to miss you so much."

Perry's resignation had been expected for weeks, particularly after news of his involvement in Trump's efforts to encourage Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter, who once sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

The resignation rumor that lingered: Reports that Perry would soon be departing the administration have persisted throughout his tenure.

"No. I'm here, I'm serving," Perry said earlier this month at a news conference. "They've been writing the story for at least nine months now. One of these days they will probably get it right, but it's not today, it's not tomorrow, it's not next month."

Perry said it was energy issues that pushed him to broker a call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. In his role as Energy secretary, Perry has engaged in conversations with Naftogaz, Ukraine's state-owned oil and gas company.

Perry's legacy: Perry, who ran for president in 2012 and 2016, is one of Trump's longest-serving Cabinet secretaries, having spent 31 months in the administration.

The former Texas governor has kept a relatively low profile throughout his time in the administration, in contrast to the actions of his fellow energy and environment agency heads, two of whom resigned amid ethics concerns.

His two biggest controversies as secretary: Perry took heat early on in his post when in September 2017 he submitted an unprecedented proposal to prop up the struggling coal and nuclear industry. Federal regulators later killed the plan.

He was also criticized for a rule that rolled back Obama-era standards for lightbulbs, eliminating energy efficiency standards for nearly half the bulbs on the market.

Read more on his exit here.

 

PERRY IS OUT, HIS MESSAGE IS THE SAME: Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Friday denied that there was any quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine, telling Fox News the name Biden never came up in his discussion with the county's leaders even if transparency measures did.

"There was no quid pro quo in the sense of what those folks out there would like for it to be," Perry told Fox's Bill Hemmer. "That we're [not] going to give you this money unless you investigate Joe Biden and his son. I never heard that said, anywhere, anytime, in any conversation."

President Trump is currently the subject of an impeachment inquiry investigating whether he withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to pressure authorities to investigate Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden previously served on the board of. 

Perry confirmed previous reports that he influenced Trump to take the controversial call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that spurred the inquiry.

"Absolutely," Perry said. "When I saw the president I said 'Mr. President, it's time to make this phone call.' "

Perry said his goal was to "get Ukraine back in the sphere of influence in the United States" and acknowledged there were conditions to further American involvement.

"They have to do some things. They have to show us they're going to respect the rule of law, you're going to be transparent, they're going to unbundle their midstream gas company. All of those things were part of him coming in. And I think that's completely and absolutely legitimate. That's what we're supposed to be doing," Perry said.

Perry said tackling corruption issues was a central tenet of Zelensky's campaign and those efforts featured prominently in his discussion with Ukrainian leaders.

"President Trump wasn't going to send American money to a country that had a history of being corrupt," Perry said.

Perry also said he had no problem with the involvement of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, in Ukraine matters, saying he has often relied on outside experts for help.

Read more on his day two comments here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK:

On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on protecting federal employees from an anti-government culture.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on energy efficiency.  

On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee will hold a hearing on "the Oil Industry's Efforts to Suppress the Truth about Climate Change." 

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on water resources infrastructure

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on limiting emissions from planes and trains

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

Texans fall victim to sweltering summer temperatures as regulators ignore skyrocketing power cutoffs, The Statesman reports

Courts chipping away at backlog of asbestos cases, Maryland Matters reports

Hawaii's surf might disappear completely if climate change worsens, Hawaii News Now reports

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