Secretary of Energy Nominee Samuel Bodman (2-2-05)
Following the announcement by Spencer Abraham that he would retire
as Secretary of Energy, President George Bush nominated Deputy Treasury
Secretary Samuel Bodman to be the new Energy Secretary. In remarks
at the White House on December 10, 2004, Bush said: "Sam Bodman
is an experienced executive who has served in my administration
as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
During his varied and distinguished career in the private sector,
Sam has been a professor at MIT, president of an investment firm,
the chairman and CEO of an industrial company with operations worldwide.
In academics, in business, and in government, Sam Bodman has shown
himself to be a problem solver who knows how to set goals and he
knows how to reach them. He will bring to the Department of Energy
a great talent for management and the precise thinking of an engineer.
I thank him for agreeing to serve once again." The full text
of Bush's statement and Bodman's response is available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/12/20041210-3.html.
The full Senate confirmed Samuel Bodman as energy secretary
by a unanimous voice vote on January 31st. He was sworn in on February
1st with a private ceremony. It is a great honor and personal
privilege to serve President Bush and the American people as Secretary
of Energy, Secretary Bodman said in a press
release. I look forward to working with the fine men and
women of the Energy Department to advance this department's critically
important missions, including preserving Americas pre-eminence
in the physical sciences, ensuring the responsible stewardship of
our nations nuclear weapons stockpile, advancing our international
nuclear nonproliferation efforts, and ensuring reliable, secure, affordable
and environmentally responsible supplies of energy for our growing
Fifteen members of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources
Committee unanimously approved the nomination of Sam Bodman for Secretary
of Energy on January 26th. Committee Chairman Pete V. Dominici (R-NM)
stated that Bodman's credentials as a former business executive and
chemical engineer were "broad enough...to help us pursue good
energy policy." (1/27/05)
On January 19, 2005 the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural
Resources held a confirmation hearing for Samuel Bodman, Bush's nominee
for Secretary of Energy. Amid discussion of some of the most controversial
and pressing environmental, economic and national security topics,
Republicans and Democrats alike were courteous and offered the nominee
In their questions to Bodman, Senators plied for his commitment to
a wide variety of issues, ranging from the expansion of domestic nuclear,
coal, oil, and natural gas, to nuclear defense, climate change, and
scientific research. Bodman pledged to maintain a "balanced approach"
while pushing ahead with some of the president's major initiatives.
Bodman underscored his support of DOE science programs and the entire
scientific community, regarding Los Alamos National Laboratory as
the "crown jewels" of US scientific leadership. Highlighting
his background as a chemical engineer and business executive, he called
himself a "hands-on" manager and promised to be a "strong
voice for the physical sciences."
The nuclear energy program and nuclear defense system were treated
as important vehicles for fostering research, energy independence,
and national security. Bodman addressed the nation's fear of expanded
nuclear energy programs, prioritizing the construction of Yucca mountain
waste facility along with supporting research for next-generation
On domestic fossil fuel production, Bodman declared clean coal a
"high priority" and pledged to support efforts to lift restrictions
for oil and gas drilling on public lands, assuring Sen. Murkowski
(R-AK) that he "expects to be an energetic advocate for ANWR
drilling" and offered his enthusiastic support for Alaska natural
gas pipeline. He also hedged these comments with assurances that his
criteria for deeming a site appropriate for development involves equal
regard to "supply, efficiency, infrastructure, new or renewable
energy sources and environmental impact."
Bodman expressed cautious enthusiasm for renewable energy programs,
stating that while wind power seemed to have a lot of potential, he
found solar power to be "not as successful as I would have forecast."
He agreed with Sen. Salazar (D-CO), however, that "we need to
be more aggressive on these issues."
Declaring his unfamiliarity with the energy budget for 2006, Bodman
could not speak to questions regarding levels of funding within the
Department of Energy for key initiatives, such as nuclear waste and
nuclear weapons programs. In response to Sen. Bingaman's (D-NM) charge
to restore funding to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility, Bodman
declared he would "follow the will of Congress and of the President
and follow through on this issue." (1/20/05)
Sam Bodman, President Bush's nominee to head up the Department of
Energy, is the former Deputy Secretary of Commerce and current Deputy
Secretary of Treasury. He has a strong background in chemical engineering
at Cornell and MIT, and 31 years experience in the private sector
as president of Fidelity Investments, and CEO of Cabot, a Boston-based
chemicals firm. Bodman's experience in finance and management likely
reflects the Bush administration's intention to prioritize the security
of the nation's costly nuclear defense system, which consumes more
of DOE's budget that any other energy program.
As the Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Bodman had specific oversight
over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Patent
and Trademark Office and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Bodman has appeared before congressional committees three times to
address controversial issues; first in March 2003 to defend the administration's
termination of the Advanced Technology Program before the House Science
Committee, and again in July to testify about the administration's
"Strategic Plan for the Climate Change Science Program."
A brief biography for Bodman can be read at http://www.treas.gov/organization/bios/bodman-e.html.
Sources: Department of Energy, E&E Daily, Greenwire, hearing
documents, White House, and Washington Post.
Contributed by David Millar, 2004 AGI/AAPG Fall Semster Intern; Katie
Ackerly, 2005 AGI/AAPG Spring Semester Intern
Background section includes material from AGI's Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge Update for the 108th Congress.
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for information to AGI Government Affairs
Last updated on January 27, 2005.