Who Would Governor Romney Pick as Key Energy Leaders in His Administration?

With polls on the Presidential campaign tightening to a draw, Jim O'Sullivan has an intriguing article in the National Journal about what a Romney Administration would look like.   In terms of energy, he speculates that the Department of Energy Department’s role would likely diminish significantly in a Romney administration.  DOE would go back to it's original role of monitoring nuclear energy and the green programs would gradually be defunded.  Many of Romney's fellow Republicans want to eliminate this Department, but most likely the budget will be cut drastically. James Connaughton, the former head of George W. Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality and currently the executive vice president of Exelon, the nation’s largest electricity generator. Connaughton has a good relationship with Romney, but his affiliation with the Bush administration—and possibly his moderate views on climate change—may hurt his prospects. Since leaving the Bush White House, Connaughton has been active in conversations about global warming, and he traveled to the 2009 U.N. climate-change summit in Copenhagen.  Jack Gerard, President of the American Petroleum Institute and a big energy player is someone who is a good friend of Romney and has been mentioned as another  potential candidate for Secretary of DOE, although his deep ties to the oil industry might be held against him by the Democrats.

Under a President Romney, the EPA administrator would be tasked with trying to delay or abolish the accomplishments of the Obama Administration - importantly the regulations controlling greenhouse-gas emissions and mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants.
 Campaign sources say that at least four officials from the George W. Bush administration are in the running for the top post at EPA: Susan Dudley, who was the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget from 2007 to 2009; Ann Klee, who was EPA general counsel from 2004 to 2006; James Connaughton, who was director of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2009; and Jeff Holmstead, who was EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation from 2001 to 2005.

Since Romney has catagorically stated his support for more energy expansion and drilling on federal lands, the Department of Interior will be important to him.  Often it is a Western governor who  fills this spot, and according to Romney insiders say Gov. Brian Sandoval, of Nevada a rising star in the party, fits the bill perfectly.  Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico is another possibility.  Another bet is Bob Beauprez of Colorado is working hard with the Romney campaign to deliver his state in November; if he succeeds, one GOP insider says, “a substantive role at Interior is his.”