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Energy Secretary Rick Perry is preparing to step down by the end of the year, per several reports Thursday night citing anonymous sources familiar with his plans.
Why it matters: Perry has served far longer than many officials in President Trump's Cabinet and avoided the kinds of controversies that forced out ex-EPA chief Scott Pruitt and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Where it stands: Politico reported last night that the former Texas governor is "expected" to announce his resignation by the end of November. A subsequent Washington Post story says the timing is "by the end of the year," while The New York Times reports the timeframe is "by December."
- The Energy Department pushed back against the stories but stopped short of denying them outright.
- "While the beltway media has breathlessly reported on rumors of Secretary Perry’s departure for months, he is still the Secretary of Energy and a proud member of President Trump’s cabinet," DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.
- "One day the media will be right. Today is not that day," she added.
The big picture: Perry has been a vocal advocate for U.S. fossil fuel production and exports, in particular touting the role of U.S. liquefied natural gas in bolstering allies' energy security.
- However, his high-profile efforts to create new federal support for coal-fired and nuclear plants at risk of closure never came to fruition.
- Perry has also backed DOE's alternative energy programs, a delicate role at a time when White House officials have called for steep cuts that Congress has rejected on a bipartisan basis.
- He notably has talked up the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy, which White House budget proposals have sought to choke off.
What's next: Democrats are seeking more information about Perry's interactions with Ukrainian officials as they investigate Trump ahead of potential impeachment.
- However, per the Post: "[N]o evidence has emerged that Perry participated in the effort to pressure Ukranian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter."