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Sen. Wyden To Grill Obama's Energy Nominee On Nuclear-Waste Site

Publication Date: 
April 07, 2013
National Journal
Amy Harder

Dan Reicher, Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, spoke with the National Journal's Amy Harder about the confirmation hearing for Ernest Moiz, President Obama's nominee for Energy secretary, and his support of Moiz's confirmation and appointment to encourage clean energy policies.

On Tuesday, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ernest Moniz, President Obama’s nominee for Energy secretary, are going to square off like it’s 1998.

Wyden convenes Moniz’s confirmation hearing Tuesday morning, but the history between the two men goes back to the 1990s when Moniz was undersecretary for Energy in the Clinton administration and Wyden was Oregon’s freshman senator. The two men were on opposite sides of the fight over the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, which more than a half-century ago produced plutonium for nuclear weapons during the Cold War and World War II, including the bomb detonated over Nagasaki, Japan.


"Now that he is chairman he will have greater ability to make sure that these serious problems get attended to," said Dan Reicher, who served alongside Moniz in the Clinton administration as assistant secretary of Energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Also, as chief of staff to Clinton's first Energy secretary, Hazel O'Leary, Reicher worked closely on Hanford issues. Reicher is now executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, which announced last week it has hired former Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., to lead its initiative on renewable energy standards. Bingaman will introduce Moniz at Tuesday’s confirmation hearing.


"He comes to this with an understanding of the technical, policy, and political issues surrounding the cleanup of the DOE nuclear-weapons plants, including Hanford," Reicher said of Moniz. "And now he may have to bring some of his own technical smarts to the Hanford challenges."