Moniz confirmed as secretary of energy

By Erin Voegele | May 16, 2013

The Senate has unanimously confirmed Ernest Moniz as the Secretary of Energy by a vote of 96 to 0.

“My Senate colleagues recognize that Dr. Moniz is smart, he is savvy about how the Department of Energy operates because he has been there before, and he has a proven track record of collaboration, which is just what you need when you’re leading the Department of Energy,” said Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. “I look forward to working with him to address the hugely important issues facing the department: how to manage newly accessible reserves of natural gas, how to combat climate change, how to make our economy more efficient and how to clean up Hanford and other nuclear waste sites.”

“It is my hope that after his confirmation, Dr. Moniz will guide our nation’s energy policy as the respected scientist that he is: rigorously, robustly, free of preordained conclusions, and not afraid to speak up or speak his mind,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. “His department will benefit – and so will our nation.”

Moniz was nominated by President Obama in March. He will replace former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, who announced his resignation on Feb. 1. Moniz is a physics professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A nuclear physicist, he served as director of MIT’s Energy Initiative and as the director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. He also has a history of working at the DOE, serving as Under Secretary of Energy under President Clinton.

Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, issued a statement in support of the confirmation. “The Advanced Biofuels Association strongly supports the confirmation of Ernest Moniz to be the next Secretary of Energy. We are pleased that President Obama tapped such a strong advocate for policy that supports solid energy growth and is a friend of the advanced biofuels community,” he said.

Growth Energy also released a statement congratulating Moniz. “I would like to congratulate Ernest Moniz on his confirmation as the Secretary of Energy. President Obama has chosen an excellent and well-qualified individual to lead the Department of Energy and I look forward to working with Secretary Moniz to continue to advance the growth and development of sustainable biofuels,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.

The Renewable Fuels Association responded to the news, noting that ethanol producers across the nation congratulate Moniz. “President Obama, Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and others in the Obama Administration have been enthusiastically supportive of ethanol and other biofuels over the years so we look forward to working with the Obama Administration’s newest team member,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA. “Given his background and expertise in energy, we look forward to the secretary’s first visit to an ethanol plant. We are eager for him to see firsthand the positive economic impact the renewable fuel standard has had in creating new jobs and revitalizing rural economies. We are anxious to introduce him to drivers who appreciate having fuel choices at the pump that save money and protect the environment. We believe Secretary Moniz, like the President, will recognize the power of ethanol to help make this nation more energy independent and less beholden to the whims of foreign governments in oil-rich countries. Again, welcome to Washington and to the Heartland of America, Secretary Moniz.”

The Advanced Ethanol Council has also spoken out in support of Moniz’s confirmation. “The advanced ethanol industry congratulates Secretary Moniz on his new appointment,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the AEC. “Secretary Moniz has just the right combination of technical expertise and political experience to be very effective as the new Secretary of Energy. He clearly understands what it takes to commercialize new energy technologies, and we look forward to working with the Secretary and his colleagues going forward as the advanced ethanol industry deploys commercially in the United States and abroad.”