Senate committee schedules hearings on nominations of Salazar, Chu

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled hearings on the nominations of Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) as Interior secretary and Steven Chu as Energy secretary.

Jan 9th, 2009

Jan. 13 & 15: The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold hearings on two key nominations by President-elect Barack H. Obama. The committee will consider the nomination of Steven Chu to be Energy secretary on Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. and of Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) to be Interior secretary on Jan. 15 at 9:30 a.m. Both hearings will be in Room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Why it matters: Obama has moved quickly in choosing nominees for his Cabinet and for other top positions in his administration, and Congress apparently isn't wasting time in considering his selections. Salazar would have a bigger impact on oil and gas producers than Chu because the senator would take over a department with one agency, the US Minerals Management Service, hit hard by a scandal in one of its programs and another, the US Bureau of Land Management, accused by environmental and other critics of moving too quickly on oil and gas leasing.

Salazar, who inserted an oil shale leasing moratorium into the US Department of the Interior's fiscal 2008 budget, has nevertheless been praised for bringing groups with differing viewpoints together to produce workable solutions. This ability could be tested not only within DOI but also by how well he works with former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Carol Browner, whom Obama nominated to a new post as White House coordinator for energy, environment and climate change.

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