#Frackademic nominee for Energy Secretary in the pocket of oil, gas and equity firms

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March 22, 2013 by SCNCC

Not this fracking guyIn a piece earlier this month, I highlighted the extensive links between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative — chaired by Earnest Moniz, President Obama’s nominee for Energy Secretary — and giant oil and gas firms like Shell and BP. A story this week from the investigative website ProPublic lays out Moniz’s myriad personal business connections with the energy industry.

“[B]eyond his job in academia,” writes ProPublica’ Justin Elliott, “Moniz has also spent the last decade serving on a range of boards and advisory councils for energy industry heavyweights, including some that do business with the Department of Energy. That includes a six-year paid stint on BP’s Technology Advisory Council as well as similar positions at a uranium enrichment company and a pair of energy investment firms.”

Here are some of the wallets that have Moniz in them:

  • He was on BP’s Technology Advisory Council between 2005 and 2011, a position for which he received a stipend, according to BP. Spokesman Matt Hartwig said the company does not disclose details of such payments. (A 2012 BP financial report disclosed that one council member received about $6,200.) The council “provides feedback and advice to BP’s executive management as to the company’s approach to research and technology,” according to the company. BP has also provided $50 million in funding to Moniz’s MIT Energy Initiative. Moniz talked about that relationship while delivering a warm introduction before a 2009 speech at MIT by BP’s then-CEO Tony Hayward.

  • From 2002 to 2004, Moniz sat on the strategic advisory council of USEC, a public company that provides enriched uranium to nuclear power plants. A company spokesman said Moniz was paid for his role on the nine-member council, but declined to say how much. USEC, which has been seeking a $2 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department for a centrifuge plant in Ohio, has applauded Moniz’s nomination.

  • He’s on the board of ICF International, a Fairfax, Virginia-based company which does energy and environmental consulting. It has received Energy Department contracts as part of what one executive called a “longstanding relationship with the Department of Energy.” As a board member, Moniz got $158,000 in cash and stock in 2011, according to the company’s most recent annual report.

  • He is on the strategic advisory council of NGP Energy Technology Partners, a private equity firm that invests in both alternative energy and fossil fuel companies. The Washington, D.C.-based firm declined to comment.

  • He is on the board of advisers of another private equity firm, the Angeleno Group,which says it provides “growth capital for next generation clean energy and natural resources companies.” The Los Angeles-based firm didn’t respond to requests for comment.

  • He is a trustee of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), a Saudi Aramco-backed nonprofit organization. The organization did not respond to requests for comment.

  • He was on the board of directors of the Electric Power Research Institute from 2007 to 2011, following a stint on the group’s advisory council that began in 2002. A nonprofit utility consortium, the organization does research for the industry with an annual budget of over $300 million. The group paid Moniz $8,000 between 2009 and 2011, according to its most recent tax returns.

  • Since 2006, Moniz has been on the board of General Electric’s “ecomagination” advisory board which advises the company on “critical environmental and business issues.” The company did not respond to inquiries about compensation.

Click here to read ProPublic’s full article.

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