Moniz closer to confirmation as Energy Secretary

Apr 10, 2013

The US Senate began its vetting of Obama’s pick for a new Energy Secretary Tuesday. And so far, Wyoming lawmakers on the other side of the aisle seem pleased. 

Moniz is a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former energy undersecretary for President Clinton. He would be replacing former secretary Steven Chu, who was thought to favor renewable energy.

Ernest Moniz at Nomination Hearing
Credit Associated Press

Moniz, on the other hand, is popular with supporters of the fossil fuels industry for his previous endorsements of traditional energy sources, such as natural gas, alongside uranium, nuclear energy, as well as renewables. He has also supported hydraulic fracturing. Moniz testified that the recent natural gas expansion was revolutionary and suggested support for a careful, data-backed approach toward widespread exports of natural gas.

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says she is delighted by Moniz’s approach so far. She says she believes sending some of Wyoming’s natural gas overseas would be a boost to prices.

"This is a nominee that I’m cautiously optimistic about," says Lummis, "Dr. Moniz has written papers on natural gas where he approached global LNG exports with some enthusiasm and receptivity."

Shawn Reese, policy Director for Governor Matt Mead, agrees.

"I think again we are looking for more of a commitment to all of the above and I don’t know that we necessarily saw that in the previous four years, that has to include coal, uranium, it has to include renewable, oil and gas," says Reese.

Reese says he’d also like to see the new secretary move forward with clean technologies so the state is not stymied by what he calls an onslaught of environmental regulations.

Moniz called the increased production of domestic natural gas in recent years stunning and nothing short of a revolution that has benefitted the economy while reducing global warming-related emissions.