The Energy Department (DOE) on Tuesday announced the hiring of two senior aides who will work on coal and oil-and-gas technology programs.

Paula Gant, a Ph.D. economist and natural-gas industry veteran, will be the deputy assistant secretary for oil and natural gas within the department’s Office of Fossil Energy.

She arrives as the DOE is vetting controversial industry applications to expand liquefied natural gas exports.

Gant is currently senior vice president for policy and planning with the American Gas Association, a trade group of gas distribution utilities. Prior to her seven years there, she worked for power giant Duke Energy.

The DOE also announced that Julio Friedmann, a Ph.D. geologist, will be the deputy assistant secretary for clean coal in the Office of Fossil Energy.