President Donald J. Trump formally nominated Dan Brouillette to serve as the next energy secretary on Thursday.
Brouillette, a former Ford executive, is currently deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would replace Rick Perry, who is resigning as energy secretary.
“I am honored to be nominated by President Trump to serve as the U.S. secretary of energy, and grateful to Secretary Perry for asking me to join him at the Department of Energy over two years ago,” Brouillette said in a DOE press release on Thursday. “If confirmed, I will further Secretary Perry’s legacy of promoting energy independence, innovation, and security for the American people.”
Brouillette has visited DOE sites in Oak Ridge as deputy secretary, while Perry has visited as energy secretary, including to announce Frontier, a new supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in May.
“It has been the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as secretary of energy,” Perry said in the press release. “I have the utmost confidence the Department of Energy will continue to thrive under Dan Brouillette. Dan has faithfully served as my deputy, helping to advance American energy security and position the United States as the world’s premier energy leader. I fully endorse President Trump’s decision to nominate Dan and urge the U.S. Senate to expeditiously confirm him. I look forward to seeing all that the department accomplishes under his steady leadership as secretary of energy.”
Perry is a former Texas governor who was confirmed as energy secretary in March 2017. He had called for eliminating DOE during the 2012 presidential campaign, but he now says that being energy secretary is the “coolest” job he’s ever had. During a visit to Oak Ridge in May 2017, he pledged to be an advocate for at least some programs.
During the visit to ORNL in May, Perry dismissed a news story that he planned to leave DOE, and he suggested the story was the product of a “rumor factory.” Bloomberg News had reported in April that Perry was planning his exit. That was before the Ukraine controversy. The reporting about his planned departure was disputed at the time by an Energy Department spokeswoman, who said Perry was happy serving Trump and leading DOE.
Perry, a Republican, had avoided the personal scandals that have hurt some other Trump administration officials. But he is resigning now as he draws scrutiny over his role in the Ukraine controversy, which is the subject of an impeachment inquiry led by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
During his more than two years as energy secretary, Perry oversaw a sharp increase in the production of fossil fuels, particularly liquefied natural gas, and an almost 25 percent expansion of the DOE budget, according to the New York Times. Trump had reportedly considered him to fill other cabinet vacancies, including chief of staff and secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, although Perry also dismissed those stories in May.
Before he became deputy energy secretary, Brouillette, a U.S. Army veteran from San Antonio, Texas, was senior vice president and head of public policy for USAA, which provides financial services to the military community. Before he joined USAA, he was a vice president of Ford Motor Company, where he led the automaker’s domestic policy teams and served on its North American Operating Committee.
Brouillette has also held many positions in government, according to DOE. Those include chief of staff to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, and assistant secretary of energy for congressional and intergovernmental affairs. He is also a former state energy regulator, having a served as a member of the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board.
Major DOE missions in Oak Ridge include Office of Science research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, nuclear weapons work by the National Nuclear Security Administration at Y-12 National Security Complex, and site cleanup work by the Office of Environmental Management at East Tennessee Technology Park, ORNL, and Y-12.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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