DOE nominee warned about management challenges

Former Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., President-elect Bush's choice for Energy secretary, breezed through a three-hour Senate confirmation hearing today, promising that the Bush administration will address the nation's gloomy energy forecast, while revealing few specifics. Abraham is nearly assured of committee and Senate approval.

Today's hearing was free of the vitriol that has characterized some of the other confirmation hearings this week. Abraham received praise from Democratic and Republican senators alike and won sympathy from senators who warned that Abraham has a difficult road ahead. "You are stepping into a quagmire," cautioned Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo.

Overall, Abraham revealed few specifics about the Bush administration's views on energy policy and security concerns at DOE.

"It would be premature for me to speculate on what actions the administration may or may not take," Abraham said.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Frank Murkowski, R- Alaska, warned: "You better have some answers after the 20th."

In a lighter moment, Abraham said that "new developments" have led him to drop his effort in the Senate to abolish the Energy Department. "I no longer support this legislation," he said.

Separately, Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., asked Bush to do a better job of coordinating the federal agencies charged with crafting energy policy. "In the past, the three agencies with major roles affecting energy supplies... approached each issue from a perspective defined by their own specific, narrow agency interests without considering the impact on energy supply. That must change," Domenici wrote in a letter to Bush.

Domenici, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources panel and chairman of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, urged Bush to meet with the heads of the DOE, EPA and Interior Department to coordinate policy.

During his Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday, Treasury Secretary-designate O'Neill said he would be hesitant about a federal role in California's energy crisis. Quoting "an old mentor from OMB," O'Neill said, "When the president or Congress hangs out their shingles, they tend to get all the business."

O'Neill said he has not looked at all the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission options and rules for federal action, but explained if there are any ways for the federal government to assist state officials, "it should be quick."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.