U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a full committee hearing to consider the nomination of Mark Menezes to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE). The Senate confirmed Menezes as Under Secretary for Energy by voice vote in November 2017.
“As Under Secretary, Mr. Menezes helped create the Department’s new cybersecurity office and has been responsible for many programs that are key to fostering energy innovation, including nuclear energy, fossil energy, and energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Murkowski said. “Mr. Menezes has the full confidence of Secretary Brouillette, who has already given him additional responsibilities. Having a full view of the Department’s capabilities will serve him – and all of us – well, especially as we seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
During the hearing, Menezes and several additional members of the committee spoke about the important role of the Department’s National Laboratories in combating COVID-19.
“Under the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Brouillette, DOE has marshalled the capabilities of the nation’s best scientists, researchers, facilities, and most powerful high performance computing resources to significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus,” Menezes said. “Our National Laboratories are part of a unique public-private consortium, spearheaded by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to include government, industry, and academic leaders to unleash the power of America’s supercomputing resources to combat COVID-19.”
During the question and answer portion of the hearing, Murkowski asked Menezes about the Department’s efforts to re-establish the Arctic Energy Office in Alaska and the Department’s focus on establishing U.S. leadership in the Arctic. Menezes responded that as a result of language secured by Murkowski through the Appropriations process, the Department is on pace to have the Arctic Energy Office re-opened by the end of the fiscal year. The Department plans to dedicate several personnel to the office and is requesting additional resources for it
Murkowski also asked Menezes about Alaska’s ongoing efforts to develop and bring its vast natural gas resources to market and urged the Department to do what it can to support Alaska natural gas. Menezes recognized the importance of advancing a West Coast LNG project, which would be strategically located to capitalize on growing demand in Asia.
Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.