Energy Nominee Ernest Moniz Criticized for Backing Fracking & Nuclear Power; Ties to BP, GE, Saudis
President Obama’s pick to become the nation’s next secretary of energy is drawing criticism for his deep ties to the fossil fuel, fracking and nuclear industries. MIT nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz has served on advisory boards for oil giant BP and General Electric, and was a trustee of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, a Saudi Aramco-backed nonprofit organization. In 2011, Moniz was the chief author of an influential study for MIT on the future of natural gas. According to a new report by the Public Accountability Initiative, Moniz failed to disclose that he had taken a lucrative position at a pro-drilling firm called ICF International just days before a key natural gas "fracking" study was released. Reaction to his nomination has split the environmental community. Advocacy groups such as Public Citizen and Food & Water Watch are campaigning against Moniz’s nomination, but the Natural Resources Defense Council has praised his work on advancing clean energy based on efficiency and renewable power. We speak to Kevin Connor of the Public Accountability Initiative and ProPublica reporter Justin Elliott, who have both authored investigations into Moniz’s ties to industry.
Justin Elliott, a reporter at ProPublica. He recently wrote an article called "Drilling Deeper: The Wealth of Business Connections for Obama’s Energy Pick."
Kevin Connor, director of the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit research organization focused on corporate and government accountability. The group recently published a report called "Industry Partner or Industry Puppet? How MIT’s Influential Study of Fracking Was Authored, Funded, and Released by Oil and Gas Industry Insiders." Connor is also the co-founder of LittleSis.org, which compiles data on over 40,000 people and organizations with special influence over the political process, including politicians, corporate executives and lobbyists.
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