Pence aide picked for energy post

Source: Zack Colman, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The White House has tapped an aide to Vice President Mike Pence to fill its newly vacated energy slot.

Francis Brooke will replace Mike Catanzaro, who stepped down from the National Economic Council today, a White House official confirmed. Currently Pence’s associate director of policy, Brooke will start in the energy post April 30.

“In just a short time on the job, I realized Mike was an integral member of the NEC team and played an important role in crafting domestic energy and environmental policy,” NEC Director Larry Kudlow said in a statement. “His expertise and dedication to the Trump Administration’s energy independence priorities was greatly valued and he will be missed.”

Brooke, a 28-year-old District of Columbia native, has experience as a Capitol Hill aide. He served on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) staff prior to joining the administration, had a stint with Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and interned for then-Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), who now directs the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Bringing Brooke to the White House will reinforce some continuity after a wave of departures from President Trump’s energy and environment team. The administration also has lost former NEC Director Gary Cohn, infrastructure guru D.J. Gribbin, and international energy and climate aide George David Banks.

Brooke moderated the Trump administration’s event at the U.N. climate talks in Bonn, Germany, last November. The White House advocated for using coal-fired power plant technology and expanding liquefied natural gas exports — along with advanced nuclear reactors — arguing countries would still depend on fossil fuels for decades. Attendees criticized the event and the Trump administration as being out of step with the conference’s goals.