When President Obama nominated MIT’s Ernest Moniz to be energy secretary earlier this month, he hailed the nuclear physicist as a “brilliant scientist.” But beyond his job in academia, Moniz has also spent the last decade serving on a range of boards and advisory councils for energy industry heavyweights like BP and an uranium enrichment company.
America’s need to shake its dependence on foreign oil is one of those issues where people of varied political and philosophical leanings agree: It would be better for the nation if the U.S. imported less oil, particularly from hostile nations. It would stabilize the economy and enhance national security.
And yet, solutions are elusive, and have been for decades. Politicians promise to do something only to be sunk by special interests and the public’s galloping demand for gasoline. Americans torpedo themselves on this matter, driving big cars long after the rest of the world has gone smaller; consuming more oil per capita than any other nationalities.