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Senate energy panel approves picks to lead Energy, Interior departments

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources voted Jan. 31 to approve nominees to two key administration posts that will affect the energy sector.

The committee gave a green light to Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., President Donald Trump's pick to helm the U.S. Department of the Interior, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Energy. Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, noted that she and her colleagues look forward to working with both.

In his confirmation hearing, Zinke stressed the importance of local input into decisions about the use of federal lands. Perry, who as a presidential candidate had expressed a desire to eliminate the Department of Energy, said he would be committed to modernizing the country's nuclear stockpile, promoting all forms of energy and enhancing grid security.

Zinke's nomination was approved 16-6 by the committee. Perry's was approved 16-7.

Both appointments must also be approved by the full Senate.