Views on commodities and energy
Obama energy secretary pick still a puzzle
With the list of candidates narrowing, speculation abounds about who U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama will tap to be energy secretary in his new administration.
Two of the top candidates mentioned have taken themselves out of the running for the cabinet spot.
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, told reporters Monday he had no interest in taking the position as head of the energy department. “I’m a candidate for nothing,” he said.
Rendell’s lieutenant governor, Catherine Baker Knoll, died earlier this month after a battle with cancer. Knoll’s replacement and Rendell’s successor, if he were to leave his post, is Republican Joe Scarnati. Rendell said he could not leave Pennsylvania in Scarnati’s hands.
Senator Jeff Bingaman, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, has also ruled himself out as energy secretary.
Bingaman recently met with members of Obama’s transition team to discuss the qualifications needed, and mostly likely possible candidates, for the next energy secretary. Bingaman’s committee would have to approve Obama’s nominee.
Obama has already named about half of his cabinet. He is set to nominate on Wednesday New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, the former energy secretary in the Bill Clinton administration, as commerce secretary.
With oil prices falling to below $50 this week, the energy secretary post may take on a lower profile. Obama, however, has said he remains committed to revamping energy policy and creating millions of green jobs.
Some contenders still being floated for the energy position include:
*Ray Mabus, former Democratic Governor of Mississippi and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer.
*Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who fought efforts to allow a coal-fired power plant to expand in her state, saying it would spew more greenhouse gas emissions.
*John Rowe, chairman and chief executive officer of Exelon Corporation, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.
*Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy initiatives at Google.org.
*Democratic Representative Jay Inslee, of Washington, who serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He supports developing a federal program to aggressively invest in alternative energy.
– Ayesha Rascoe