Baker Institute fellows’ statements on Obama’s choice for new energy secretary

David Ruth

Baker Institute fellows’ statements on Obama’s choice for new energy secretary

HOUSTON – (March 4, 2013) – President Barack Obama nominated MIT professor Ernest Moniz as the new energy secretary today. Two fellows at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy commented on Obama’s selection:

Neal Lane, senior fellow in science and technology policy at Rice, former assistant to President Bill Clinton for science and technology, former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and former director of the National Science Foundation:

“I had the pleasure of working with Ernie Moniz when I was serving in the Clinton administration. He was undersecretary of energy during part of that time, and prior to that he was in Clinton’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. He is a physicist and was chair of MIT’s Physics Department for many years. His knowledge of science, energy and the complexities of the federal government made him extraordinarily effective. His work with Congress — both parties — was also effective. As Sen. (Pete) Domenici said, on one occasion, ‘I like Dr. Moniz — he knows stuff!’ After the end of the Clinton administration, (Moniz) returned to MIT, where he was professor of physics, to help launch MIT’s energy initiative. I can’t think of a better candidate for this important position.”

Kenneth Medlock, fellow in energy and resource economics at Rice University’s Baker Institute, senior director of the institute’s Center for Energy Studies and adjunct professor and lecturer in Rice’s Economics Department:

“Moniz is a good choice from the standpoint of his experience — he has been involved in the Department of Energy in the past and understands the pathways to navigate. He has also been involved in the MIT Energy Initiative and the ongoing MIT energy market studies in very substantive ways. He has a deep understanding of the transformative events that are occurring in the energy market today, and this puts him in a great place tograpple with the issues of the day.”

The Baker Institute has a radio (ISDN) and HD television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Lane, Medlock or other Baker Institute fellows or scholars.

To schedule an interview with Lane or Medlock, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6327.


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Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.