In a 97-0 vote Thursday, the Senate confirmed Moniz, an MIT nuclear physicist, as energy secretary. No cabinet honcho outside of newly confirmed Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will play a more determinative role in the economic and environmental future of the Pacific Northwest.
Priority one for Moniz is a clear-eyed briefing on Washington’s Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The most contaminated nuclear site in North America has been throwing off clues that cleanup must be accelerated. Or else.
“I am encouraged that Dr. Moniz has a deep background in energy issues vital to the Pacific Northwest: From accelerating hydropower and other clean energy solutions, to maintaining cost-based power at the Bonneville Power Administration, to ensuring that Hanford cleanup is based on good science and existing timelines,” Sen. Maria Cantwell, a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said.
During his April 9 confirmation hearing, Moniz committed to Cantwell that he would visit Hanford. It’s not too early to get it on the calendar (say, the Independence Day recess.)
Federal sequestration compounds the resources scramble. As Moniz triages the Energy budget, Hanford needs to rise to the top. It’s a crisis-in-waiting that demands a proactive plan.