Subcommittee Questions Secretary Moniz on DOE Budget and Policy Priorities

April 3, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today held a hearing with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to review the president’s proposed FY2015 budget for the Department of Energy. Members questioned Secretary Moniz over the department’s policy priorities and expressed concern over the agency’s failure to produce a national energy policy that reflects today’s energy realities.

“This budget affirms that DOE is all-too-willing to acquiesce to EPA’s anti-energy agenda rather than affirmatively assert its own pro-energy agenda,” said Whitfield.

Members questioned Moniz over DOE’s sluggish process for approving liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. To date, the Obama administration has only approved seven export applications, while at least 24 applications are still awaiting action. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), author of H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, asked about the administration’s strategic plan for exporting U.S. natural gas, and whether or not the crisis in Ukraine has influenced DOE’s decisions. Moniz pointed to the recently announced G7 process, which he said would look at collective energy security. “So we’re exporting our energy security to other nations to make that decision?” asked Gardner. Click HERE to watch the exchange. 

Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) pressed Secretary Moniz on DOE’s plans to comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. While Moniz has previously testified he would comply with the law, the department has not yet taken action to resume work on the Yucca Mountain repository. “Your job is to comply with the laws of the land and you continually thwart doing that,” said Shimkus. Click HERE to watch the exchange.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) voiced concerns over electricity reliability as coal plants continue to shut down due to increased environmental regulations. While Moniz said that he was not concerned about reliability, Griffith stated, “I’m concerned that next year, or in the winter of 2016, that we will see some real problems with this many coal plants being reduced, and I think that DOE ought to be concerned about that as well.”

Chairman Whitfield added, “DOE should be taking a much more balanced approach that reflects current energy and economic realities. For example, America’s abundant energy resources – including coal, oil and natural gas – holds tremendous potential for energy affordability and security, for job creation, for export opportunities, and for strengthening America’s standing in the world.”

Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) emphasized the committee’s efforts to embrace America’s energy abundance, stating, "Whether it is legislation to modernize and update transmission and distribution infrastructure, legislation to maintain a diverse electricity portfolio generation with a continued role for coal, nuclear and renewables, or legislation seeking to ensure we have the tools in place to permit a new manufacturing renaissance, we are building a record and exploring opportunities at every level.”

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