OPENING STATEMENT AS PREPARED
MARK WESLEY MENEZES
U.S. SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
MAY 20, 2020
Chairman Murkowski, Acting Chairman Cassidy, Ranking Member Manchin, members of the Committee and staff, thank you for scheduling this confirmation hearing, particularly during this challenging time, and for the flexibility to your demanding schedules to be here in person and virtually this afternoon. I would like to thank President Trump for nominating me for the Deputy Secretary of Energy position and am humbled to appear before you today.
Thank you to those who have spoken to me prior to this hearing, to present your concerns, ideas and recommendations for improving the Department and our working relationship. I have been fortunate to serve as the Under Secretary of Energy for the past 2 1/2 years with Secretary Perry, and now Secretary Brouillette, working together with this Committee to address the challenges our country faces. I thank them for their leadership, guidance and friendship.
Thank you, Senator Cassidy for introducing me to the committee. As native Louisianans, we share a unique perspective on the role our nation’s energy plays in our economy, our national security, and our workforce.
Joining me today is my wife, Dr. Yun-hyang Lee, who is herself a committed public servant as the Division Chief of Interpreting Services at the State Department. Watching from home, and unable to be here, are our children and their families, Marisa and her husband Justin, Will and his wife Hannah, my 7 month old granddaughter Simone Frances and her parents, Paige and Matt, Stephanie live-streaming from Tokyo, and in Louisiana my mother Doris, a retired public school teacher who is most responsible for my life’s achievements, and many family and friends across the country who have been supportive over the years.
If confirmed, I will endeavor to advance the hallmarks of this Administration: Advocating for U.S. energy of all kinds around the world while increasing accessibility and availability of energy here at home; broadening our supercomputing capabilities and innovation at our national labs; providing for a strong national defense through a modern and dynamic National Nuclear Security Administration; and honoring the commitment to the cleanup of our nation’s Manhattan Project and Cold War legacy sites.
I am proud that the Department of Energy has been in the fight to combat the devastating impact of COVID-19. Under the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Brouillette, DOE has marshalled the capabilities of our nation’s best scientists, researchers, facilities, and most powerful high performance computing resources to significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus. The Department’s 17 National labs each play a critical role in advancing America’s leadership in scientific research and development, energy technology, and nuclear security.
Our National labs are also part of a unique public-private consortium, spearheaded by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, to include government, industry, and academic leaders to unleash the power of America’s supercomputing resources to combat COVID-19.
Recognizing advancements in energy accessibility and the need for strong deterrent – be it tactile or cyber – the Department took the extraordinary steps of bolstering cybersecurity and emergency response, as well as artificial intelligence by establishing two new offices focused on these emerging priorities. We have committed to build three new exascale computing systems, and following Congress’ leadership in passing the National Quantum Initiative Act, we are evolving our quantum science capabilities.
Breaking down silos and elevating our cross-cutting efforts across the Department is another hallmark of this Administration. Over the past three years, the Department’s committed professionals have come together across program areas to leverage high priority research and expertise to maximize the impact of federal research capabilities, expenditures and partnerships. The Department has pursued a number of these initiatives such as the Critical Materials Initiative; the Energy Storage Grand Challenge, the Plastics Innovation Challenge; and the Grid Modernization Initiative, which brings together all 5 applied energy offices.
I am proud that innovation at the Department has advanced the Trump Administration’s commitment to clean water, clean air, and clean energy. America is now the world’s second largest producer of wind and solar energy. And America leads the world in the reduction of energy related carbon emissions by orders of magnitude. Cutting edge research and development at our National labs will ensure America continues this progress for years to come through technology to advance all forms of energy.
Recognizing interdependencies of our energy and water systems, the Trump Administration launched “The Water Security Grand Challenge”. This DOE-led effort advances transformational technology to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water.
I commit to each of you today that if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, I will work earnestly with you to address the challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow.
Members of the committee, I wish to thank you again for allowing me to be here today. It is indeed an honor to come before this committee, and I ask for your favorable consideration of the President’s nomination. I look forward to answering your questions.