Barrasso Opening Statement at Committee Business Meeting to Consider Nominations

March 8, 2022

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a business meeting to consider the nominations of:

  • Ms. Shalanda H. Baker, to be director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact at the Department of Energy;
  • Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, to be director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy;
  • Ms. Sara C. Bronin, to be chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation;
  • Dr. Joseph F. DeCarolis, to be administrator of the Energy Information Administration; and
  • Ms. Maria Duaime Robinson, to be an assistant secretary of energy of the Office of Electricity.  

Chairman Joe Manchin (D-WV) postponed the vote on Ms. Maria Duaime Robinson. 

To watch the full business meeting click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Thank you, Chairman Manchin. 

“It does appear that Senator Marshall’s bill, which I cosponsored, and your bill with Senator Murkowski actually really made a difference. 

“The administration now seems poised to ban Russian oil. 

“It is good that we are taking additional steps to stop funding the Russian war effort. 

“The administration should not replace oil from one rogue state with that of another.  

“It is a grave mistake to cut deals with Iran and Venezuela to buy their oil.  

“Let’s not fund our enemies.

“The administration needs to support boosting production here at home on federal lands and waters. 

“Today we are going to consider five nominees. 

“Last year, I supported Ms. Baker’s nomination to serve as director of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity – formerly the Office of Minority Economic Impact – at the Department of Energy. 

“I plan to do so again today. 

“I do not agree with all of the views Ms. Baker holds, but I believe she’s been forthright with our committee and is qualified to serve in the position for which she’s been nominated. 

“If she were nominated for a different office in the future, I may arrive at a different conclusion. 

“I will also support Dr. DeCarolis to serve as administrator of the Energy Information Administration. 

“EIA is the premier source of energy information in the United States. 

“By law, its data, analyses, and forecasts are supposed to be free of political interference. 

“This committee relies on its unbiased assessments and data. 

“At his nomination hearing in February, Dr. DeCarolis committed to safeguard EIA’s political independence and ensure the energy information it publishes is not tainted by politics. 

“This is imperative, and I will be watching closely to make sure he follows-through on his commitment. 

“Not all the nominees before us today are well qualified and deserving of support. 

“As I did last November, I will vote ‘no’ on Dr. Berhe and Ms. Bronin. 

“Dr. Berhe has been nominated to serve as director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy. 

“Dr. Berhe has been a professor of soil biogeochemistry for over a decade. 

“She has focused her research on soil management and sequestering carbon in soil.

“Her background and experience has little to do with the Department of Energy and the scientific community with which it collaborates. 

“She’s not the right person to serve as director of the Office of Science. 

“Ms. Bronin has been nominated to serve as chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. 

“While Ms. Bronin has experience in the historic preservation field, I am concerned about the types of reforms to historic preservation programs she may pursue.

“If her record as a leading advocate for progressive zoning reforms in Connecticut is any indication, she is likely to attempt to alter the character, nature, and scope of the Advisory Council. 

“I will also oppose Representative Robinson’s nomination to serve as assistant secretary for the Office of Electricity at the Department of Energy. 

“If confirmed, Representative Robinson would play a critical role in ensuring the nation’s energy delivery system is secure, reliable, and affordable. 

“In the Massachusetts House of Representatives, she consistently prioritized reducing greenhouse gas emissions over reliability and affordability. 

“She has openly celebrated abandoning America’s abundant coal, oil, and natural gas resources in favor of intermittent, unreliable, and unaffordable renewable energy. 

“These traditional energy resources are the very backbone of our nation’s electricity system. 

“The most recent EIA data show Massachusetts has the 5th highest electricity rates in the country – 72 percent higher than the national average. 

“In a Question for the Record, I asked Representative Robinson if she believes the people of Massachusetts pay too much for electricity. 

“She said, ‘No.’ 

“Representative Robinson is obviously out of touch with the financial hardship high energy prices place on American families.

“She is the wrong person to run the Department’s Office of Electricity. 

“I will oppose Representative Robinson’s nomination today, and urge my colleagues to do the same. 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”