By Ben Geman - 02/27/13 02:28 PM EST
Murkowski’s careful statements, while issued with caveats, signal that Moniz may receive GOP support, or at least avoid the type of attacks directed at just-confirmed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Moniz directs MIT’s Energy Initiative and is already among the Obama administration’s outside advisers. He served as under secretary of energy at the department for several years during the Clinton administration.
Moniz, if nominated and confirmed, would replace outgoing Secretary Steven Chu.
Some environmentalists have criticized Moniz over his support for natural gas drilling and nuclear power, and the funding that his MIT energy program receives from major energy companies.
UPDATE: Murkowski also sounded bullish about Moniz on Wednesday.
“I’m thinking [Moniz] could be a person we could work with,” she told reporters on the sidelines of an Energy Department summit on energy technology innovation.
––This post was updated at 12:30 p.m.
––Zack Colman contributed