Confirm the President's New Energy Team


This week, President Obama announced the lineup of his new energy team. The nominations of Gina McCarthy for EPA Administrator and Ernest Moniz for Secretary of Energy – coupled with the already announced nomination of Sally Jewell at the Department of Interior – illustrate President Obama’s commitment to energy as a driver of the next economy. Given the range of important issues this team will face, the Senate needs to quickly confirm all three.

As has been noted before, under President Obama, America has a national energy strategy for the first time in decades. The All of the Above strategy balances the President’s politics of grounded pragmatism regarding America’s current energy supply with his clear understanding that our future depends on clean energy.  

Dr. Ernest Moniz is a physicist and the Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative. In this role, he conducted research on virtually all aspects of energy. He served as Undersecretary of Energy in the Clinton Administration. 

Gina McCarthy will helm EPA at a potentially momentous time in the agency’s history. The potential for EPA to regulate carbon at existing power plants during the next four years – as mandated by the Clean Air Act - could shape the future of American energy policy and the future of the planet.

This team will have stewardship over a range of initiatives that are critical for creating next economy jobs, including ARPA-E and the clean energy portion of advanced manufacturing. Given the importance of these emerging sectors of the economy, the Senate should move to quickly confirm the President's energy team.

(Addendum: Dr. Moniz has drawn some criticism for his support of natural gas by anti-fracking advocates. This prompts two important clarifications: 1) Dr. Moniz supports natural gas as a ‘bridge fuel’ - replacing carbon intensive coal with less carbon intense natural gas - specifically on the grounds of reducing carbon emissions and 2) the Department of Energy has little jurisdiction over fracking policy. It’s also worth noting that Al Gore knows and highly respects all of these candidates and wishes them the best of luck in their confirmation.)