This week, the Department of Energy unveiled its official portrait of Ernest Moniz, who led the department during the second half of the Obama administration.
In addition to government efforts Moniz spearheaded, including a historic nuclear agreement with Iran, the painting of includes a pro-fracking study funded by the oil industry that Moniz led while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
From Politico’s Morning Energy newsletter (emphasis added):
Moniz quipped that he was honored so many people gathered for his “official designation as a historical artifact” before engaging in an extended explanation of everything in Chris Saper’s painting, which included “The Future of Natural Gas” report he led while at MIT, a DOE Quadrennial Technology Review, the Obama administration’s Quadrennial Energy Review – an effort he pushed for well before he was secretary – and the Iran nuclear agreement he helped negotiate.
PAI published an analysis of “The Future of Natural Gas” in March 2013, before Moniz’s nomination to the Department of Energy. Our report, titled “Industry Partner or Industry Puppet?”, found that the study was “marred by undisclosed conflicts of interest, pro-industry advocacy, and poor scholarship similar to that which resulted in retractions and resignations at other universities.”
Moniz and his co-authors Anthony Meggs and John Deutch failed to disclose their conflicts of interest at oil and gas companies and consulting firms and advocated for positions that benefited their industry patrons, including the expansion of natural gas drilling and burning as a “bridge fuel” and the growth of exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The Obama administration adopted the pro-oil-and-gas policies advocated by Moniz and his co-authors, embracing fracking as part of Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy and permitting several new LNG export facilities. Now, the official commemoration of Moniz’s tenure at the Department of Energy includes a representation of the influential propaganda he produced with oil-and-gas-industry funding.
“Industry Partner or Industry Puppet?”, PAI’s report on “The Future of Natural Gas”, can be read here.