Energy & Environment

Progressives urge Biden away from including Obama energy secretary in administration

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A coalition of more than 70 groups, including progressive and environmental organizations, is urging President-elect Joe Biden not to include a former Energy secretary who served with him under former President Obama in his incoming administration. 

The groups’ opposition to Ernest Moniz, who is seen as a leading contender to reprise his role as the nation’s top energy official, stems from connections to the fossil fuel industry and his positions on fossil fuels. 

“During the campaign, we applauded your commitment to restore trust in government and to address the climate emergency, environmental injustice, and the array of other crises that working families and communities face today,” the groups wrote in a letter on Monday. “Therefore, we are writing to urge you to commit to ensuring Ernest Moniz holds no public or private role, whether formal or informal, in your transition team, cabinet, or administration.”

Moniz served as Energy secretary from 2013 to 2017, supporting an “all of the above” energy strategy that backed both fossil fuels and renewable energy. He also helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal.

Moniz has served as a consultant for oil and gas company BP. 

In their letter, the groups argued that Moniz’s “employment and financial ties situate him firmly in the revolving door between government and fossil fuel corporations.”

Groups that signed on to the letter include the Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace Inc. and 350 Action. 

A spokesperson for Moniz’s Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), a nonprofit focused on energy innovation, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

However, the EFI spokesperson recently shared with The Hill a statement in which Moniz and others said they “stand ready to assist the Biden Administration — and the country — in achieving a clean energy future” and are “laser-focused on the net-zero emissions goal advanced by the President-elect and examining all pathways that enable progress towards successfully meeting this essential goal.”

Tags 350 Action BP Climate change Ernest Moniz Fossil fuels Greenpeace Joe Biden Sunrise Movement zero emissions
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