President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, as the next Secretary of the Department of Energy. Some observers have noted that the nominations of Pruitt and Perry suggest that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on campaign promises to pursue energy policies supporting the development of fossil fuels. Pruitt and Perry each hail from states with strong oil and gas industries and both are known for their at-times skeptical views regarding the EPA and DOE, respectively.
Mr. Pruitt describes himself as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” As Attorney General of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt has filed or joined in on a number of lawsuits against the EPA, including the case challenging the Clean Power Plan in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Trump’s Transition Team, however, considers Pruitt to be “an expert in Constitutional law [who] brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy.” By selecting Pruitt, Trump’s administration signaled it intends to return the agency to its “essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe.”
As Governor of Texas, Rick Perry oversaw a state that is among the nation’s leaders in oil and gas production and now is also a leading wind energy state. But the Department of Energy does not produce a lot of energy. Rather, DOE’s mission is heavily focused on managing the nation’s nuclear energy, weapons, and cleanup as well as funding research and development to produce and use cleaner, more efficient energy. Some have questioned whether Perry, without the scientific background of past secretaries of energy, will have the necessary expertise to set R&D and nuclear policy.