Trump nominates 2 for top agency slots

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017

President Trump has nominated officials from Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to two top Department of Energy positions.

Mark Wesley Menezes has been tapped to be undersecretary of Energy. He was the chief counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 2003 to 2006 and worked on the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Currently vice president of federal relations at Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Menezes also formerly headed the energy practice at Hunton & Williams LLP and was vice president at Central and South West Corp., which later merged with American Electric Power Co. Inc. He is a charter member of the advisory council for the Louisiana State University Energy Law Center.

Trump also nominated Paul Dabbar, JPMorgan’s mergers and acquisitions managing director, to be undersecretary for science, where he would play a critical in guiding DOE research.

In a statement, the White House said Dabbar has “over $400 billion in investment experience across all energy sectors.”

Dabbar, who holds a Master in Business Administration, served in Hawaii and California as a nuclear submarine officer and once “conducted environmental research” at the North Pole, according to the White House. He also worked as a lecturer at the U.S. Naval Academy economics department.

Dabbar is on DOE’s Environmental Management Advisory Board.

Dabbar would succeed Lynn Orr, who was the inaugural undersecretary for science and energy. Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz created the office to integrate DOE efforts in basic science, technology development and applied research.

It’s unclear whether the Trump administration will follow the same organizational structure.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is the only Trump administration DOE nominee to be confirmed by the Senate. The White House also has nominated David Jonas to be general counsel nominee and Dan Brouillette for deputy secretary.

The White House proposed deep cuts to DOE’s Office of Science and to applied energy programs in its fiscal 2018 budget plan. The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to mark up legislation tomorrow that would increase funding for many programs beyond the White House request but still reduce support for fossil, renewable, efficiency and nuclear research (Greenwire, June 27).