Obama's energy secretary nominee, Ernest Moniz, completes Senate hearing

Ernest Moniz, President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Department of Energy, completed his hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee April 9. The hearing was relaxed and friendly, according to most reports, perhaps indicating the MIT physics professor will have an easy confirmation.

The top Republican in the committee, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, said her colleagues performed their due diligence with Moniz and heard nothing that raised red flags.

The committee has not yet scheduled a vote on Moniz's confirmation, however, Murkowski said.

Moniz has testified before Congress nearly a dozen times in the past. Reports indicated the scientist was calm and joked back and forth with senators.

The nominee told the senator he agreed with the Obama administration's frequent calls for an "all of the above" approach to energy policy. This strategy would run the gamut from nuclear power to renewable energy, as well as a focus on domestic oil and gas production.

Moniz said he is "extremely bullish" on renewable energy, calling a low-carbon economy crucial. He called the DOE's past backing of the American wind and solar industries as a success, saying the cost of generating renewable energy has declined.

After a question on a potential carbon tax by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Moniz said the DOE is not the area of government where such questions are decided, adding that the department's main task was to foster innovation so the cost of low-carbon technology could be lowered.

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