Senate panel unanimously advances Biden pick for deputy Energy chief

Senate panel unanimously advances Biden pick for deputy Energy chief
© Greg Nash

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 20-0 Thursday to advance the nomination of David Turk to become deputy Energy secretary.

Both Chairman Joe ManchinJoe ManchinIRS data proves Trump tax cuts benefited middle, working-class Americans most Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake MORE (D-W.Va.) and ranking member John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Sunday shows - Spotlight shifts to omicron variant Barrasso calls Biden's agenda 'Alice in Wonderland' logic: 'He's the Mad Hatter' MORE (R-Wyo.) praised Turk’s experience on energy policy.

“I was highly impressed by Mr. Turk at our hearing last week. He clearly has a firm grasp on the wide range of issues facing the Department of Energy,” Manchin said in his opening statement.

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Turk, who served on the National Security Council and in the State Department during the Obama administration, became deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency after Obama left office.

The Senate panel has frequently been at odds in the past over President BidenJoe BidenMarcus Garvey's descendants call for Biden to pardon civil rights leader posthumously GOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors MORE’s nominees and policies on energy and the environment, with committee Republicans frequently arguing Biden's policies will hurt jobs and economic growth.

Barrasso, who has been one such critic, spoke positively of Turk on Thursday for expressing dedication “to all types of energy and the need to keep America energy dominant.”

“I especially appreciate his commitment to carbon capture utilization and sequestration technology as well as the need to construct CO2 pipelines to move that captured carbon,” Barrasso said.

“If confirmed Mr. Turk must prioritize policies that take advantage of the tremendous economic and national security benefits generated by an abundant oil, natural gas and coal resources that we have,” the ranking Republican added, alleging that the Biden administration has “declared war on energy.”

Another of the committee’s Republicans, Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesBill honoring 13 service members killed in Afghanistan heads to Biden's desk The Memo: Much-criticized Trump policy puts Biden in a vise The good, bad, and ugly of Tester's Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Act MORE (Mont.), said he had found his interactions with Turk “refreshing [and] pragmatic.”

During his own opening statement, however, Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Degrees not debt will grow the economy Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.M.) warned that merely a diverse energy portfolio would not necessarily have prevented the mass power losses in Texas during its recent winter storm. He noted that natural gas production fell 45 percent during the winter weather, because “there’s a lot of water in natural gas and when you don’t winterize things it literally freezes up ... and natural gas just could not in Texas fill the gap.”