President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team brought several new names into the fold this week as the incoming administration’s energy and environmental policy direction begins to take shape.
Trump has tapped American Energy Alliance (AEA) President Thomas Pyle to lead the transition at the Department of Energy (DOE). Pyle held a number of public and private roles in Washington, DC, prior to lobbying with the AEA. He founded his own consulting firm, Pyle Consulting Inc., and he served as Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives and as staff director for the Congressional Western Caucus, among other roles.
Lobbyist Michael McKenna, president of MWR Strategies, had previously been named as the leader of DOE’s transition under Trump.
At AEA, Pyle has been a frequent critic of the Obama administration’s energy policies. Most recently, he slammed the administration’s five-year Outer Continental Shelf leasing program, calling it “a farewell gift to the ‘Keep it in the Ground’ activists” and adding that the AEA “[looks] forward to President-elect Trump’s pro-energy and pro-growth outlook.”
Doug Domenech has been confirmed to lead the transition efforts at the Department of the Interior (DOI). Domenech joins the Trump team from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, where he has been serving as the director of the group’s Fueling Freedom Project. Domenech previously served in the DOI under George W. Bush’s presidency and as Virginia’s secretary of natural resources.
In a blog post last week, Domenech offered a clear indication of what he expects from the DOI under Trump’s administration. Domenech criticized the Obama administration’s “restrictive agenda on traditional land management practices on federal lands.
“...The incoming administration has pledged to open federal lands -- onshore and offshore -- for oil and gas production,” Domenech wrote. “[Trump] will revoke policies that impose unnecessary restrictions on innovative exploration technologies, rescind the coal mining lease moratorium, and conduct a top-down review of all anti-coal regulations issued by the Obama administration. He has also pledged to streamline the permitting process for all energy infrastructure projects.”
Trump has also appointed Myron Ebell to lead the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency. Ebell hails from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, where he has been directing the organization’s Center for Energy and Environment. Ebell is part of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group that says it is “focused on dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.”
Trump himself offered a few clues as to his energy policy priorities in a YouTube video published Monday that briefly outlined his plan for his first 100 days in office.
“I will cancel job killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs,” Trump said. “That’s what we want. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. On regulation, I will formulate a rule which says that for every new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. So important.”