- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Two of President Trump’s cabinet nominees advanced through a Senate committee Tuesday morning with bipartisan support, clearing the way for new leadership at the Energy and Interior departments.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Mr. Trump’s choice for Energy secretary, and Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, tapped to head the Interior Department, both were approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Mr. Perry was approved by a vote of 16 to seven, while Mr. Zinke garnered 16 yes votes and six no votes.

A handful of Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, backed the nominees.

On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote on the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. He’s expected to be approved, clearing the way for full Senate votes on Mr. Trump’s full energy and environment team.

While Mr. Perry attracted some bipartisan support, other Democrats said his opposition to federal climate-change programs and his backing of fossil fuels make him the wrong choice for the department.

“I looked at his record as Texas governor … he also chose to spend much of his agenda trying to add 11 new coal plants and suing the EPA at every chance he could,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, Washington Democrat and her party’s ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
In testimony to the committee earlier this month, Mr. Perry stressed that he strongly supports renewable energy — a contention backed up his record in Texas, which became the nation’s largest wind power state during his time in office.

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