Daily Energy Insider: Energy and Natural Resources Committee considers modernizing DOE, DOI

Administration proposals to reorganize and modernize both the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of the Interior (DOI) were heard by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last week. Such proposals build on an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in March 2017, which directed them to find ways to reduce waste and inefficiencies in the departments. Those efforts have since become hotly debated, given the level of cuts and changes proposed. 
“It’s our responsibility to look at the structures of government and determine whether they are as efficient and effective as we expect,” U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), committee chairwoman, said. “Putting ideas on the table for improvements is a good thing – something we should encourage. And from there, it’s on all of us to consider those ideas, help refine them, and then move forward on those that best serve the American people.” 
While Murkowski has objected to several proposed changes to the departments, particularly any that weaken the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPAE), she has also welcomed a chance to streamline operations. Susan Combs, senior advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, was invited to address the committee with her department’s plans. In the process of this, an important question asked of her was how the department is keeping the nation’s tribes in the loop. 
“The Secretary is very mindful of the sovereignty of the tribes and very mindful that this is a government to government relationship, and so the initial phase of consultation is underway,” Combs said. “In every region that the tribes are in there will be a consultation, and those will all be completed by the end of August.” 
Bernard McNamee, executive director of the DOE’s Office of Policy, highlighted the department’s strong opposition to removing the National Nuclear Security Administration from control of the Secretary of Energy and addressed other proposed changes to the departmental structure. 

By:  Chris Galford
Source: Daily Energy Insider