A Look At Who Might Be Setting Federal Energy Policy Next Year

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President Obama and Governor Romney argue during last week's presidential debate

Energy policy came up during both presidential debates, and Republican Mitt Romney has been using his stump speech to blast the Obama Administration’s support for renewable energy – and as he frames it, its opposition to the coal industry – for most of the year. So it’s clear a Romney White House would take a different approach on energy issues than a second Obama Administration.

But who would Romney tap to head the key energy-related agencies: Interior, Energy, and the  Environmental Protection Agency? The folks at FuelFix have put together a short list for potential Romney Administration cabinet secretaries. They also drafted a list of potential Obama Administration cabinet members, if the president wins a second term.

One Pennsylvania native makes the list: Former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty is named as a possible EPA Administrator.

Here’s FuelFix’s take on who Romney could tap to run the EPA:

– Jim Connaughton, former head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under George W. Bush: Since then, he’s been in the energy industry, first as a lobbyist for Constellation Energy and most recently as an executive vice president at Exelon Corp. While Connaughton is viewed as more conservative than most environmentalists, he still could be seen as too moderate for Romney’s base. Connaughton, who like Romney is Mormon, has been a big donor to the GOP candidate and the Republican Party.

– Scott Nally, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency: Nally has regulated oil and gas drilling in Ohio and battled a company’s bid to send treated drilling wastewater to treatment plants. He also drew attention this year for breaking with the National Association of Clean Air Agencies over its support of EPA policies and trying to recruit like-minded state regulators to form their own organization. Nally could help politically, given Ohio’s swing-state status.

– Jeff Holmstead, lobbyist at Bracewell & Giuliani: The former assistant EPA administrator from 2001-2005, Holmstead was the architect of clean air policies under former President George W. Bush. He could face a confirmation battle over his client list, which reads like a Who’s Who of electric utilities and coal producers.


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