Some Republicans had objected to his nomination because he was a founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and a clean energy advocate.
Bryson's focus on alternative fuels "seeks to increase drastically the price of electricity and gasoline across America." Senate Environment and Public Works ranking member James Inhofe, R-Okla., said recently.
While the Commerce secretary handles a range of export, trade, and economic issues, Inhofe argued Bryson's environmental background disqualifies him.
More recently, Bryson spent 20 years as chairman of the utility Edison International before stepping down in 2008. He replaces Gary Locke, who became ambassador to China in July.