Manchin, Committee Consider Energy Nominees

November 17, 2022

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to consider the nominations of Mr. David Crane to be Under Secretary of Energy for Infrastructure, Mr. Jeffrey M. Marootian to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Mr. Gene Rodrigues to be an Assistant Secretary of Energy for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, thanked all three nominees for their willingness to serve in these positions at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Chairman Manchin opened the hearing with a question to all three nominees.

“Do any of you believe that the United States of America can be energy independent within the next ten years without a robust clean fossil energy program?” asked Chairman Manchin.  All three nominees answered “no.” 

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin questioned Mr. Crane about his views on the coal industry and the use of carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technology and sought a commitment that Mr. Crane would carry out the two CCUS demonstration projects required on coal-fired power plants. 

“Can you explain your views on coal and CCUS in the domestic and global energy mix now and in the future?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“Like you, I believe in all-of-the-above. I believe that domestic coal is a fundamental part of the energy mix of the United States. I applaud the actions that Congress has taken, particularly the carbon capture utilization and sequestration [demonstrations and] the 45Q. I can tell you from being in the private sector that those provisions are catalyzing a response that I think is going to be very good for the industry. Finally, and most importantly and directly in answer to your question; without qualification, without exception, I can tell you that I will implement the coal-related provisions of these bills with the same vigor that I implement every other provision,” said Mr. Crane.

Chairman Manchin asked Mr. Marootian about how his transportation background will translate to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).  

“You have a background in transportation policy, which is covered by the office you’ve been nominated to lead, but not many of the other programs central to the office such as renewable technologies and energy efficiency. Can you talk about your experience, and do you believe that’s a hinderance to you?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“I believe I was selected for this role because of my experience leading large organizations. The District Department of Transportation is a very large organization, about 1,100 people. For scale, the EERE office is just slightly less than that. As you noted, the transportation components of DOE fit within the EERE portfolio. In fact, about a third of the entire portfolio is dedicated to sustainable transportation. The newly established Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is within EERE as well. Broadly, there are a number of programs across the energy efficiency and renewable power pillars that require management and collaboration within DOE, with the newly established undersecretary’s office and across government agencies. Those are the skills that I bring to the table and that's why I believe I was nominated for this role and if confirmed I look forward to working with this committee to implement a wide array of programs,” said Mr. Marootian.

Finally, Chairman Manchin questioned Mr. Rodrigues about grid reliability and how he would lead the Office of Electricity.

“What do you view as the most pressing concern for the Office of Electricity to address?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“I will say this, the number one task of the Office of Electricity is to ensure the American power system, the American grid, is reliable, because without energy reliability, nothing else matters to the American people. The thing that makes me so excited about being able to have the opportunity, if confirmed, to work at the Office of Electricity, is that the leadership in technology, economics, and environmentalism that our office can bring through research, development and demonstration is not just going to help the American people, but it will help us, as a country, as a nation, to help our allies around the world to remain secure and have affordable energy as well,” said Mr. Rodrigues

To read the nominees’ testimony, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.