The Senate has confirmed Barack Obama’s pick for Secretary of Energy according to Bloomberg. Ernest Moniz, a physicist who has previously worked at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be the Secretary of Energy for Barack Obama’s second term as President of the United States.
The news that the Senate confirmed Moniz comes amid several scandals in the White House, stemming from unethical, and possibly illegal practices at the IRS and the Department of Justice. Though the Department of Energy has been insulated from this round of scandals, it was at the center of one in Obama’s first term, the infamous investment in Solyndra.
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Obama’s Environmental and Energy Policy
The confirmation means that Obama has now filled two of the three slots that are vital to his environmental and energy policy in the second term. Last month Sally Jewel was confirmed as the nation’s Secretary of the Interior. The Environmental Protection nominee, Gina McCarthy, encountered resistance among Senate Republicans, and her confirmation has been delayed indefinitely.
Between 2007 and 2011, Moniz served as undersecretary in the Department of Energy. His predecessor, Steven Chu, was held responsible for the money lost in the Solyndra loans scandal. Chu was also previously a physics professor before taking his position at the head of the Energy Department under Obama in 2009.
Some kind words were sent Moniz’ way by Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina, who said that Moniz will “be an outstanding secretary of energy, and we look forward to working with him.” According to Businessweek, “Graham had placed a hold on Moniz’s nomination because of an administration decision to suspend work on a South Carolina plutonium processing plant beset by cost overruns.”
The new Energy Secretary may form an important part of Barack Obama’s second term plans, after the president promised to deal with climate change during his tenure as president. Some ground was certainly covered in the president’s first term but those with interests in halting global warming and improving the state of the environment will be looking for a lot more from the president in the coming four years.