Obamas Pick for Commerce Department Head Draws Fire from Murkowski

The President’s new pick to head the Commerce Department, John Bryson, quickly drew fire from Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.  Bryson was head of the largest utility in the U.S., but what Murkowski objects to is the fact that he was one of the founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Murkowski spokesman on energy issues Robert Dillon said in a statement this morning that there’s “real concern about his history with the NRDC and the impact it could have on American competitiveness.”  Dillon says that will be the focus of much debate when his nomination comes before the Senate.

Bryson’s confirmation is already threatened to get tied-up by issues unrelated to his background – Senate Republicans say they’ll block any nominee for Commerce Secretary until trade agreements are finalized with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.

The Commerce Department oversees NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – and other agencies and areas that greatly impact Alaska, like  telecommunications.

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