Bush nominates little-known official to be energy secretary

President Bush surprised D.C. insiders today by nominating a virtually unknown Treasury Department official, Sam Bodman, to serve as secretary of energy. “Sam who? I’ve never heard of this guy,” said one energy-industry lobbyist, echoing what most everyone else inside the Beltway seemed to be thinking. A former chemical-engineering professor at MIT, head of an investment firm, chair of a chemical company, and Commerce Department official who oversaw the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bodman has little experience in the field of energy. If approved by the Senate to replace outgoing secretary Spencer Abraham (and no one thinks he won’t be), Bodman would be expected to advocate for the GOP-backed energy bill, help win approval for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, pave the way for building the first new nuclear reactor in the U.S. since 1973, and press ahead with a plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.