Cantwell Questions Nominee’s Commitment to Driving Down Energy Costs For Consumers

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, questioned Trump administration nominees for the Department of Energy (DOE). 

During the hearing, Daniel Simmons who would oversee the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy confirmed he would not slow walk any regulations after Senator Cantwell asked if he had “any hesitation on your role at EERE [Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy] as it relates to [efficiency] standards and the standards that must be set so that we can move forward on energy efficiency?... We have seen a slow walking by some on this, and I’m telling you that it’s wrong-headed, it’s the wrong approach.” 

“I also disagree with Secretary Perry’s [proposal] to subsidized high-cost coal to compete with natural gas in renewable markets,” said Senator Cantwell.  “Is EERE going to continue on this important mission of driving down costs for businesses and consumers by using energy efficiency?” Senator Cantwell asked Simmons.

“I need to know that this agency is going to operate in the most aggressive manner possible,” said Senator Cantwell. “Coming from a state where energy efficiency has delivered over and over and over and over again for us, I have a whole economy being developed…you know I have a whole block in Spokane that plans on being a net zero [energy] block… I want that economy to move forward in my state and in our nation.” 

“I also intend to continue to pursue making sure all our colleagues at DOE understand the very terrible idea the administration is putting forward in trying to sell off assets from the Bonneville Power Administration and TVA,” said Senator Cantwell during the hearing. “I’m sure if my colleague Senator Alexander was here or my colleague Senator Risch, we would all be in unison…that this is a terrible idea that should be stopped in its tracks.”

Senator Cantwell also secured a commitment from Donaldson, nominated to be Inspector General, to hold contractors accountable and protect workers at Hanford. “Hanford is a big priority for our state and making sure that clean up happens but making sure that contractors are accountable but also for protecting our workers,” said Senator Cantwell.

Dr. Falls who is nominated to be Director of the Office of Science confirmed he would ensure data transparency following Senator Cantwell’s question that, “We have a lot of concern that maybe science and information isn’t being made public, will you make sure that the science community has data and modeling on climate and what it will mean for our nation and infrastructure?” Senator Cantwell asked. 

Broadcast quality video of Senator Cantwell’s opening statement can be found here.

Broadcast quality video of Senator Cantwell’s questions can be found here.

Witness testimony will be available online immediately before the start of each hearing on the committee website