President Donald Trump said on Friday he will nominate Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to replace Rick Perry in the agency's top job.
Brouillette's appointment follows the same model that put Andrew Wheeler at the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency and David Bernhardt atop the Interior Department: All held the No. 2 positions at their agencies, had years of experience in Washington and advanced with the departures of more flamboyant predecessors.
“Dan’s experience in the sector is unparalleled. A total professional, I have no doubt that Dan will do a great job!“ Trump tweeted.
Brouillette, who led policy teams at financial services company USAA and Ford Motor Co., also served on the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board and worked as chief of staff for then-Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) after a stint at the Energy Department.
“There has been a consistent nomination of deputies who are deeply substantive and very well seasoned and respected in the processes of Washington and interagency processes, and lots of skills and awareness on the international scene, and regardless off policy differences," said Jim Connaughton, who ran the White House's Council on Environmental Quality under former President George W. Bush and met Brouillette at that time. [That's] certainly true of David Bernhardt and Andy Wheeler. Dan Brouillette is in that same mold.“
As Perry's deputy, Brouillette has been one of the administration’s point people in promoting U.S. LNG exports as a way for European countries to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.
Brouillette has criticized the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, and at a gas conference in Germany earlier this year, he referred to reliance on Russian gas as "a strategic liability.”
Brouillette has a reputation around Washington as a pragmatist who can break through policy log jams. During the Bush administration, he was a key figure in laying the groundwork for what became the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The law, which expanded DOE’s research and development authority, first began to take shape while Brouillette was assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental affairs at DOE, a post he held from 2001 through 2003.
Tauzin said Brouillette helped get the bill through a House-Senate conference, and resulting bill passed in the House.
“We had tried a number of times to do that, and it was only when I brought Dan in as chief of staff that we succeeded,” Tauzin said.
Tauzin’s version failed in the Senate by two votes, but a similar bill passed the next year after both Tauzin and Brouillette left Congress. By then, Brouillette had become vice president of Ford’s federal affairs office, where he participated in negotiations over the Energy Policy Act of 2007, which expanded fuel economy programs and the nation's biofuels program, the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Brouillette was confirmed to the No. 2 job at DOE in a bipartisan 79-17 vote in the Senate in August 2017.
Brouillette has nine children, all of whom he and his wife home-schooled, according to Tauzin.