Introducing Obama's Likely Pick for Energy Secretary

Denis Poroy/AP

President Obama has settled on MIT professor Ernest Moniz to be the next head of the Energy Department, according to reports. Here's what you need to know about him.

  • No Stranger to Government. Moniz has held key energy policy roles under Presidents Clinton and Obama. As under secretary for energy from 1997 to 2001, he was the department’s public face in explaining in 1998 how the Cabinet agency failed to prevent one nuclear weapons plant from leaking nearly a million gallons of radioactive waste over time. A year later, he had to defend a nearly half-billion dollar, 16-year mistake in how the department handled such waste. Earlier in Clinton’s tenure, Moniz spent two years as the associate director for science in the president’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. In 2009, he was appointed to be a member of Obama’s Science and Technology Advisory Council. Moniz also has experience testifying before Congress, having discussed the Clinton administration’s energy policy in June 2000 and the future of natural gas in 2011.
  • Proponent of Good, Old-Fashioned Nuclear Energy. Moniz is an advocate for a low-carbon future and has, in a variety of forums, promoted the use of nuclear energy to get there. He favors improving on existing technologies, he told Dan Rather in 2011, arguing that untested new options take a long time to develop and are subject to a nuclear-licensing process "which is inherently tortuous." He also supports setting aside $36 billion in government loan guarantees to fund new nuclear-power plants. The hope, he said, is that such guarantees would ultimately come at no cost to the public. France, Japan, Korea, and Russia have made gains in recent years in recruiting talented nuclear workers, he said. But he said he was pleased to see that the United States seemed to be coming back to nuclear energy.
  • A Fan of Natural Gas—For Now. To the chagrin of some environmentalists, Moniz has described the growth in domestic shale-gas production over the past few years as paradigm-shifting. In introducing a major MIT report on the future of natural gas in 2010, he called it “a bridge to a low-carbon future.” In the long term, natural gas would likely be phased out in favor of zero-carbon options, he said. “For the next several decades, however, natural gas will play a crucial role in enabling very substantial reductions in carbon emissions,” Moniz said.
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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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