Committee Welcomes Moniz’s First Hill Testimony as Secretary of Energy

June 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today welcomed the nation’s new Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, in a hearing focused on the president’s proposed FY2014 budget for the Department of Energy. Members questioned Secretary Moniz over the department’s budget requests and expenditures and discussed a new vision for the nation’s energy future, especially in light of the country’s new era energy abundance.

“The president’s energy budget isn’t just about dollars and cents; it’s about priorities for the country. And the priorities set forth in his budget are out of touch with today’s energy reality and present a stark contrast from the energy priorities being pursued by this committee,” said full committee Chairman Upton (R-MI). “Our transforming energy landscape requires a Department of Energy for the 21st Century. We need an agency that is ready to shed its culture of scarcity and instead embrace a mindset of abundance and opportunity.”

“Fortunately, I see a positive future ahead in working with Secretary Moniz, and not a moment too soon. But I also believe that the proposed FY 2014 DOE budget that we will review today still reflects the mistakes of the recent past and is not a forward-looking proposal,” added Chairman Whitfield.

Secretary Moniz expressed a willingness to work with Congress to address the nation’s energy challenges, stating, “I look forward to continuing my engagement with members of Congress from both parties and both chambers to constructively illuminate our perspectives on important national challenges and to seek solutions in a collaborative fashion.”

“The mission of the Department of Energy could not be more urgent or important. From our efforts to find affordable and clean sources of energy, to ensuring the security of our nuclear stockpile, to cleaning up the legacy of the Cold War—our work, which includes advancing the science that underpins these missions, is essential to our prosperity, environment, and security,” said Secretary Moniz. “The Department of Energy has a broad range of responsibilities that stretch across cutting edge science and technology programs, national security priorities, and complex environmental cleanup projects. Responsibility for taxpayers’ money demands that we manage our resources in the most efficient manner possible. Improving the management and performance of the Department is one of my top priorities as Secretary.”

Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) noted that America is experiencing a dramatic increase in oil and gas production and reducing its reliance on foreign imports due in large part to the success of hydraulic fracturing. When asked about his position on this game-changing production technique, Moniz responded, “I believe all the environmental concerns are manageable.” Later, during questioning with Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Secretary Moniz agreed that hydraulic fracturing is a “critical” part of our energy future, stating, “We would not have the increased oil and gas production without it.”

Following up on Secretary Moniz’s statement that the department “will expeditiously work through the remaining [LNG permit] applications,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX) asked whether decisions are expected to be made by year’s end. Moniz responded, “Absolutely.” Watch their exchange here.

Secretary Moniz also committed to following the law if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rules the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must resume its consideration of DOE’s license application for Yucca Mountain. Watch his exchange with Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) here.