Senate confirms David Turk as deputy Energy secretary

Senate confirms David Turk as deputy Energy secretary
© Greg Nash

The Senate confirmed David M. Turk as deputy Energy secretary in a 98-2 vote Wednesday.

Republican Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (Ky.) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyState watchdog to launch review of Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal Juan Williams: Trump's toxicity fuels fear of violence Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE (Mo.) were the only senators to vote against Turk’s confirmation in the full Senate vote on Wednesday.

Turk, who served on the National Security Council and in the State Department during the Obama administration, cleared the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in an unanimous vote earlier in the month.

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Although the panel’s Republicans, many of whom represent energy-producing Western states, have frequently been sharply critical of the administration’s energy policies, ranking member John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate appears poised to advance first Native American to lead National Park Service Sunday shows preview: Senate votes to raise debt ceiling; Facebook whistleblower blasts company during testimony The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Wyo.) praised him in the earlier vote.

“If confirmed, Mr. Turk must prioritize policies that take advantage of the tremendous economic and national security benefits generated by abundant oil, natural gas and coal resources that we have,” Barrasso said. “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 reiterated his praise of Turk on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, specifically highlighting their mutual support for carbon capture technology and saying it was "clear from his nomination hearing that he is dedicated to all types of American energy."

“Mr. Turk was also very responsive to the committee’s questions, for the record. That has not been the case for every one of President BidenJoe BidenWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Jan. 6 panel votes to hold Bannon in contempt MORE’s nominees so far,” he added.

“Coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and renewables are all essential to America’s energy mix," Barrasso said. "Mr. Turk demonstrated that he understood that reality during his nomination hearing.”

Turk, who also worked as the State Department’s deputy special envoy for climate change, had worked at the International Energy Agency since 2016.

“Growing up in a small Midwestern town, I saw up close our community struggle when the local steel mill downsized and laid off more and more workers,” Turk told The Washington Post in February after his nomination was announced.

“If confirmed, I’ll carry this experience to my work at the Department of Energy to make sure we listen to the voices of workers and families impacted by changing economic conditions so the clean energy future we build creates good-paying jobs in all corners of our country."

Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Biden administration breaks down climate finance roadmap Regulators can no longer rubber-stamp expansion of the oil and gas industry Obama to attend Glasgow climate summit MORE was previously confirmed by the chamber 64-35 on Feb. 25.