On Tuesday the US senate confirmed former Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke to lead the Department of the Interior, and on Wednesday it confirmed former Texas governor Rick Perry to lead the Department of Energy. Both men will have considerable influence in how the US approaches energy issues over the next four years, from how advanced energy projects are funded to how public lands are used for oil and gas extraction.
Perry, who once claimed that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy, recanted during his confirmation hearing in January, stating: "My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking. In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination." Perry also reversed his previous statements of doubt about the science behind climate change in his January hearing, although he stopped short of affirming a belief that human activity is a dominant driver of climate change.
Senators voted 62 to 37 to appoint Perry to the position.