Meet the Secretary of Energy shortlist


As Donald J. Trump prepares to “bring coal jobs back” and otherwise return U.S. energy policy to the 19th century, speculation is running rampant on who will lead this brave march backwards at the Department of Energy (DOE).

Honestly, no one knows for sure what’s happening behind the scenes at the Trump transition team (even them). But here are a few people we believe could ultimately get the nod.

Harold Hamm

Hamm’s name has been bandied since the Republican Convention. Currently the CEO of Continental Resources (Motto: America’s Oil Champion — no, really, it is. Click the link), Hamm grew up in the oil business, working in the Oklahoma oil fields as a teenager and starting Continental at age 21.

He led the fight to eliminate the “40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports, a feat that will lower U.S. gasoline prices by up to 13 cents a gallon, create 400,000 American jobs a year, increase GDP by 1%, and ensure America and our allies are never again held hostage by dictatorial regimes.”

(The reality is that after the ban was lifted in December 2015, U.S. oil exports have actually gone down.)

Robert Grady

This venture capitalist seems perfect for the job. He worked with The Carlyle Group (whose murky investments are shielded from public scrutiny  in spite — or perhaps because — of all the well-known politicos who land there). He’s currently a partner at mid-market equity fund Gryphon Investors based in San Francisco, which almost guarantees he’s seen solar panels from his house.

A bonus? He does not appear to have any energy experience at all — even as an investor.

(In most reports, Grady shows up as taking one of two jobs: Interior or Energy.)

Rick Perry

As a former Texas governor, twice-failed presidential candidate (2012 and 2016) — famous for declaring he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy (DOE) in one Republican debate in 2011 — and failed Dancing With The Stars contestant, Perry is currently looking for a job.

Although it’s not clear how his animal-sciences degree from Texas A&M and history as a successful cotton farmer would inform his policy as Energy Secretary, he is a climate-change skeptic, has defended the Keystone XL pipeline and other fossil-fuel-related projects and sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for regulating carbon emissions.

On the other hand, he signed a Western Governors Association resolution that included the following line: “Renewables: Accelerate the development and deployment of promising renewable energy technologies through the extension and expansion of state and federal production tax credits.” And he appears to support a $5,000 tax credit for electric vehicles.

So there’s that.

Myron Ebell

Another candidate who may be up for two jobs (EPA administrator or DOE), Ebell’s claim-to-fame is his religiously held belief that Climate Change is a fake and “silly” issue. As a result, he has stated he will waste no time dealing with something that doesn’t exist.

In fact, Ebell’s entire career has centered on Climate Change denial, starting with his work at conservative front groups Frontiers of Freedom, Frontiers of  Science (funded by ExxonMobil) and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

At his last stop, Ebell and others devised a comprehensive communications plan designed to convince Americans Climate Change science is in dispute (it isn’t), a project that continues today. He has also loudly criticized the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and wants it scrapped.

He’d be a bad Secretary of Energy, is what we’re saying.

Other names floated by the Trump transition team include Donald Hoffman (who runs a firm that cleans up nuclear waste), James Connaughton (who opposed the Kyoto Protocol as an advisor to President George W. Bush and is a former executive with Constellation Energy) and Kristine Svinicki (who has served as a commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission since 2008).

So those are the people reports have as front runners for Secretary of Energy in Trump’s administration. If it were up to you, who would you choose? Leave your answers below in the comments.

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