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Moniz vows to help advance big efficiency bill, sees ‘real chance’

“Efficiency is going to be a big focus as we go forward,” he said.

On the legislative front, Moniz said he has met with senior leadership in both chambers of Congress about legislation, noting he sees an opening for the measure sponsored by Sens. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: VA chief won't resign | Dem wants probe into VA hacking claim | Trump official denies plan for 'bloody nose' N. Korea strike | General '100 percent' confident in US missile defense Trump official denies US planning 'bloody nose' strike on North Korea House Oversight Committee opens probe into sexual abuse of gymnasts MORE (D-N.H.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCommittee chairman aims for House vote on opioid bills by Memorial Day Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March MORE (R-Ohio) and a companion plan in the House.

“There is a ways to go to get it together, but there is clearly an interest in moving this,” he said. “This is the kind of initiative that I think has a real chance to move forward and I certainly will work with Senator Shaheen and others to try and help make it work.”

The Shaheen-Portman plan, which sailed through the Senate’s energy panel with bipartisan support recently, contains an array of provisions to boost efficiency in buildings by improving codes, workforce training and other steps.

It also contains measures to help manufacturing plants become more efficient and boost conservation within the federal government itself.

Moniz, in vowing to prioritize energy efficiency, also said he would seek to address a backlog of product efficiency standards in development, among other actions. He said that the economic benefit of standards already enacted over the last four years is very large.

He also touted Energy Department efforts to help boost energy conservation in the manufacturing sector.

Moniz is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist who, before becoming secretary, directed the MIT Energy Initiative.

He served as undersecretary of energy in the Clinton administration.

This post was updated at 3:12 p.m.