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Revealed: Obama's DOE Nominee Ernest Moniz Is Super Cozy With Tar Sands, Oil and Gas Industries

As Congress is set to review Moniz's nomination, here's what you should know.

Congress will review the Obama Administration's  nomination of Ernest Moniz for Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) in hearings that start  today, April 9.

Moniz has come under fire for his outspoken support of  nuclear power,hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for shale gas and the overarching "all-of-the-above" energy policy advocated by both  President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent in the last election,  Mitt Romney

Watchdogs have also discovered that Moniz has worked as a  long-time corporate consultant for BP. He has also received the " frackademic" label for his time spent at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At his MIT job, Moniz regularly accepted millions of dollars from the oil and gas industry to sponsor studies under the auspices of  The MIT Energy Initiative, which has received  over $145 million over its seven-year history from the oil and gas industry. 

MIT's " The Future of Natural Gas" report, covered by many mainstream media outlets without any effort to question who bankrolled it, was  funded chiefly by the American Clean Skies Foundation, a front group for the shale gas industry's number two domestic producer, Chesapeake Energy. That report concluded that gas is a "bridge fuel" for a renewable energy future and said that shale gas exports were in the best economic interests of the United States, which should " not erect barriers to natural gas imports and exports." 

As first revealed on DeSmogBlog,  Moniz is also on the Board of Directors of ICF International, one of the three corporate consulting firms tasked to perform the Supplemental Environmental Impact Study (SEIS) for  TransCanada's Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline. KXL is slated to bring tar sands - also known as  "diluted bitumen," or "dilbit" - from Alberta to Port Arthur, TX, where it will be sold to the highest bidder on the  global export market

Moniz earned over $300,000 in financial compensation in his two years sitting on the Board at ICF, plus whatever money his  10,000+ shares of ICF stock have earned him. 

Moniz's American Petroleum Institute Ties to Shale Gas Export Advocacy

Another controversial oil and gas industry export plan exists for fracking.

In this arena, the DOE - via the consulting firm  National Economic Research Associates (NERA), a firm with  historical ties to Big Tobacco - said exports of the U.S. shale gas bounty (LNG exports) were in the best economic interests of the U.S. in its long-awaited Dec. 2012 report.

In a  Feb. 2013 follow-up report the American Petroleum Institute (API) sang the same tune, agreeing with the NERA assessment. In actuality, that report was not even done by API itself, but instead was  outsourced to ICF International.

If he receives congressional confirmation, this means Moniz will jump ship from his ICF Board of Directors position and have the final say over DOE LNG export decisions. 

While heading the MIT Energy Initiative, Moniz also worked alongside  John Deutch.

Deutch headed the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President Bill Clinton and now serves as head of the Board of Directors of Cheniere Energy, a corporation that  owns many proposed LNG export terminals along the Gulf coast

Cheniere was the  first corporation to sign a deal to export gas from its Sabine Pass terminal and it recently filed a  request to the DOE to expand that terminal's holding capacity. He also headed the  DOE fracking subcommittee convened by President Obama in May 2011, which  consisted entirely of oil and gas industry insiders.

Further, the  Vice President of ICF International is Karl Hausker, the  husband of Kathleen "Katie" McGinty, one of the members of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel and also a member of the DOE fracking subcommittee. She recently threw her name into the ring as a  Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate for the 2014 election in Pennsylvania.

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