« PreviousContinue »
MONIZ, SULLIVAN, GEE, REICHER, ANGELL,
AND TELSON NOMINATIONS
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1997
Washington, DC. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9 a.m. in room SD366, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Frank Murkowski, chairman, presiding
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK H. MURKOWSKI,
U.S. SENATOR FROM ALASKA The CHAIRMAN. Good morning. The hour of 9 has come, and with that we have the Department of Energy nominees. The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will come to order.
I look forward to your statements. I think it's fair to say that I am going to waive my opening statement. I would encourage you folks to waive yours and summarize any remarks you might care to make so we can get into questions.
The schedule for the day, as usual, is mixed with uncertain periods. We start with a vote at 9:30, and I have no idea how long that is going to take. We also have a situation where I have to speak on behalf of a bill that is going to be involved in that vote, so I am going to excuse myself for a few minutes. I hope Senator Grams will hold the fort for a few minutes in-between. We will do the best we can. It may be necessary that the senior staff continue the process during the time in which Senators may be forced to vote.
Now the problem with that, of course, is you are under oath, and that may not work. But I do not know whether we can excuse you, put you back under oath, or whatever, but we will attempt to expedite this process as much as possible. If there are any objections, we can try and work something else out.
So, with that, let me introduce the group that is before us. Ernest Moniz for Under Secretary, Mary Anne Sullivan for General Counsel, Robert Gee for Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs, Dan Reicher for Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, John Angell for Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Michael Telson for Chief Financial Officer,
Senator Grams, do you have any statement at this time?
[The prepared statements of Senators Murkowski, Burns and Akaka follow:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF Hon. FRANK H. MURKOWSKI, U.S. SENATOR FROM ALASKA
Good morning. Today the committee is holding a hearing on the following nominations to the Department of Energy: Ernest Moniz for Under Secretary; Mary Anne Sullivan for General Counsel; Robert Gee for Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs; Dan Reicher for Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; John Angell for Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs; and Michael Telson for Chief Financial Officer.
There are 6 nominees here today, which is an unusually large group to consider at one time. I should also inform you that I need to leave by 10:00 to go over to the House Resources Committee to testify at a hearing they are holding on an issue of vital importance to my state.
With that in mind, I would ask that instead of having the nominees read their prepared statements, they be inserted into the record. I would suggest that when we get to the time normally reserved for your testimony, you introduce any family members that are here with you today, and at that time if you still feel the need to say a few words, you may do so.
There are several Committee Members here wishing to make statements, so I will make mine brief.
I have met with each of you and am satisfied that you will bring a positive attitude to your new position, as well as a sense of accountability within the Department.
With that having been said, I welcome each of you, and your family members, here this morning.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. CONRAD BURNS, U.S. SENATOR FROM MONTANA I would like to thank Chairman Murkowski for holding these hearings, and I would especially like to thank the nominees for coming down here today. I hope that we can get you through this process quickly. However, there are two things I would like to touch on before we get on with the questions.
As we approach the end of the twentieth century, our nation faces major decisions, some of which will directly impact the Department of Energy. Over the last three years, Congress has urged the administration to cut through the bureaucracy. Big government is not efficient, nor is it effective. Every layer we add to our govern. ment takes it a step away from the will of the people and a step away from democracy.
One alternative to big government is to privatize some of its functions, and the Department of Energy has been at the forefront of this process. I don't expect this to change. Whether it's a small inventor working out of the garage or a major corporation with a multi-million dollar research and development department, the private sector, not the government, is the main source of innovation in our country. For this reason, I firmly believe that the process of privatization must continue if the United States is to maintain a leadership role in energy technology.
Additionally, electric lity restructuring will also continue to be a major issue in the next decade. Deregulation, to some extent, has removed restrictive government policies on several industries throughout the last 25 years. Some states, including my home state of Montana, have already decided that they would benefit from adding electric utilities to the list of deregulated industries. However, the federal role in this process has not yet been determined.
This committee has held a series of workshops in order to learn more about the electric industry restructuring. The learning curve is very steep and we are gathering as much information as we can, but the outcome is not certain. At the end of the workshop process, we may find that no action is necessary, partially due to actions taking place in individual states like Montana. One thing, however, is certain: the Department of Energy will have to operate within an environment unlike the one that exists today.
The positions for which you have been nominated are leadership roles. In the coming years, they must be filled with individuals who can not only participate in the changes, but innovate and foster change as well. I hope that all of you are up for this challenge, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these issues.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. DANIEL K. AKAKA, U.S. SENATOR FROM Hawaii I welcome all the nominees. I am pleased that President Clinton has assembled a fine team to manage the challenging job of running the Department of Energy: The Department faces monumental problems and challenges. The legacy of Cold War with its massive environmental problems needs to be addressed. In today's changed world, including the absence of Soviet Union, the department's national security related functions have to be carried out within the context of new and emerging framework. Our dependence on imported oil keeps increasing and is reaching critical levels. Our science and technology base faces increasing and sophisticated challenges from other nations.
Under the leadership of Secretary Peñe, the Department is making the right moves. Needed reforms in the management of the Department and our national laboratories are in progress.
The Department needs the expertise of the nominees before us today to overcome the challenges and problems it is facing. Dr. Moniz’s has outstanding scientific and administrative credentials. He would make an excellent Under Secretary respon, sible for science and technology, environment, fundamental research, and national security issue areas.
Dr. Telson, President's nominee to be the Department's Chief Financial Officer is highly qualified. He has many years of experience on Capitol Hill with Budget Committee, as well as a scientific background: President could not have chosen a better candidate for this job.
Ms. Sullivan has the experience to perform the always demanding job of General Counsel. Her current assignment has given her exposure to all the major DOE programs. This will stand her in good stead in her future assignment.
Dan Reicher has been involved with energy and environment issues for nearly_20 years. He has wide ranging experience at the Department as well as outside the Department on these issues. I might make a comment here on an area of great interest to me. As you know hydrogen research is of great interest to me. Hydrogen Future Act, which I coauthored, was enacted in 104th Congress. I believe the future of hy. drogen research would be in good hands with Mr. Reicher, as the Assistant Sec. retary at the Department.
Mr. Angell, with his experience on Capitol Hill and at OMB, is well prepared for the job of Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Finally, Mr. Gee brings a wide ranging energy background. His nomination comes at the most opportune time as the nation gears up to the electric utility industry restructuring. I am also pleased to note that President Clinton has nominated an American of Asian ancestry to this position. I hope his is the first of many more qualified minority appointments to the Department.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, I support all the nominations that we are considering, and hope that they will be confirmed quickly.
STATEMENT OF HON. ROD GRAMS, U.S. SENATOR
FROM MINNESOTA Senator GRAMS. I will waive it too, just to be consistent here this morning. But I do have a statement that I would like to enter into the record.
[The prepared statement of Senator Grams follows:)
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. ROD GRAMS, U.S. SENATOR FROM MINNESOTA Mr. Chairman, I want to take this opportunity to welcome the Department of Energy nominees to today's confirmation hearing. Since Secretary Peña assumed the helm of the DOE earlier this year, we have seen some changes. However, there are many things which are reminiscent of the “status quo”.
Today's hearings will provide us with an opportunity to revisit the problems that continue to plague this outdated bureaucracy, and hopefully, gain some insight as to what the President's nominees intend to do to address these issues.
At the forefront of my concerns is the DOE's failure to address our nation's spent nuclear fuel crisis. Since I was first elected to the Congress in 1993, I have attempted to work with this Administration to address the nuclear waste that contin. ues to pile up in Minnesota and in 40 other states across our nation. And yet here we sit, nearly five years later, and the only action that the DOE has taken is to collect more of the ratepayers' money—to the tune of some 13 billion dollars.
Mr. Chairman, that is an affront-to the ratepayers, the states and to the envi. ronment. It is also against the law. And if this Administration fails to meet those legal, contractual obligations soon, it could result in a taxpayer bailout that dwarfs the S&L crisis-regardless of what some of our nominees may argue.
Unfortunately, the Department of Energy's civilian waste debacle is just the tip of the iceberg. In the absence of a definable mission in this “post-energy crisis era", coupled with its abysmal record of fulfilling Congressional mandates, the DOE represents a near-$20 billion "blackhole” for the taxpayers.
That is why I introduced the DOE Abolishment Act-to streamline key programs into agencies better able to manage goals and eliminate wasteful bureaucracy. And while these nominees may disagree with the idea of abolishing the federal agency they are seeking an appointment to it is hard to argue with the goals I've outlined. Today I hope to learn how they would make the DOE more accountable if they are confirmed.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I yield back the remaining time and look forward to the opportunity to question our nominees. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, we have met with some of you and certainly have the impression that you bring a positive attitude to your new position, as well as a sense of accountability within the Department.
I would ask that the nominees stand. The rules of the committee which apply to all nominees require that they be sworn in in connection with their testimony, and the specific question is: Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Dr. MONIZ. I do.
Before you begin your statements, I would ask you three questions addressed to each nominee before this committee.
Will you be available to appear before this committee and other congressional committees to represent departmental positions and respond to issues of concern to the Congress? Would you each respond to that?
Dr. MONIZ. I will.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you aware of any personal holdings, investments, or interests that could constitute a conflict or create the appearance of such a conflict should you be confirmed and assume the office to which you've been nominated by the President? I am told we need to do that separately, so we'll start with Mr. Moniz.
Dr. MONIZ. Mr. Chairman, my investments, personal holdings and other interests have been reviewed by myself and the appropriate ethics counselors in the Federal Government. I have taken appropriate action to avoid any conflicts of interest. There were no conflicts of interest or appearances thereof, to my knowledge.
Ms. SULLIVAN. My personal investments and personal holdings and other interests have also been reviewed by myself and the appropriate ethics counselors within the Federal Government. I have taken appropriate action to avoid any conflicts of interest. There are no conflicts of interest or appearances thereof, to my knowledge.