Democratic News

This morning, ENR welcomed Dr. Steven Chu at a hearing, in advance of his expected nomination to be U.S. Energy Secretary. Chairman Bingaman strongly supports the distinguished Nobel laureate.  A video recording of today’s hearing is archived here.
Jan. 13, 2009
“President-elect Obama will not officially nominate Dr. Chu until the new President is sworn in next Tuesday.  It is customary, however, for the Senate to confirm non-controversial Cabinet nominations at the beginning of a new Administration by unanimous consent, without first referring them to committee, immediately following the Inaugural ceremony. 
“We extended this courtesy to 7 of President Bush’s nominees 8 years ago, and some of President Clinton’s nominees 16 years ago.
“In keeping with the past practice of the Committee, I have scheduled today’s hearing on Dr. Chu’s nomination and another hearing on Thursday on Senator Salazar’s nomination to give members an opportunity to ask questions of the nominees and consider the nominations prior to the Inauguration.  Unless there is serious opposition to one or both of the nominees—and I am not aware of any—it is my hope that the Committee might also be able to take a vote on the nominations later this week as well.
“Dr. Chu’s nomination comes at a pivotal time in the Department’s history.  The Department faces the daunting challenges of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels; developing new sources of clean energy; finding ways to capture and store carbon emissions; modernizing our electric grid; and developing more efficient energy technologies.
“At the same time, the Department must fulfill its traditional missions of maintaining our nuclear deterrent, cleaning up the environmental legacy of the Cold War, and advancing the frontiers of scientific discovery and technological innovation.
“We are very fortunate to have a nominee of Dr. Chu’s high caliber to take on these responsibilities.  He will bring to the job the keen scientific mind of a physicist and Nobel laureate, the experience and understanding of the Department of Energy of a National Laboratory Director, and the insight and vision needed to forge an energy policy for the 21st Century.
“President-elect Obama has made an excellent choice in nominating Dr. Chu to be the Secretary of Energy.   I strongly support his nomination and, as I said, I hope the Committee will approve his nomination later this week and the full Senate will confirm him next Tuesday.”
#  #  #