President Barack Obama today nominated Richard G. Newell, an expert in environmental economics, for the job as administrator of the agency, Barb Barrett reports.
On the surface it might seem as though Newell would be taking on a pretty wonky position. The agency keeps track of data and makes forecasts on oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear energy and renewable energies.
But the Energy Information Administration's work carries significant weight in energy policy discussions. Its research likely will have some impact, for example, in whether North Carolina's coastal waters could sprout either oil wells or wind turbines.
During last year’s debate on offshore drilling and high gas prices, experts routinely cited an EIA report that said new drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf would have little impact on oil prices before 2030.
Newell is the Gendell Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. His research has focused on energy and the environment, including the economics of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Newell’s nomination would have to be approved by a Senate vote.