Ted Kennedy challenges Michael Kratsios’s science credentials, opposing the Energy Department pick

Sen. Ted Kennedy’s opposition to President Trump’s nominee to run the Energy Department could complicate the debate over how to fight global warming.

Mr. Kennedy said Monday he would oppose Michael D. Kratsios, Mr. Trump’s pick to be the director of the Energy Department, because of the Mexican government’s confiscation of a large swath of an oil field belonging to a U.S. company.

“I cannot vote for someone who voted against the WTO settlement that would afford American corporations the same access to the Mexican market that Mexican companies enjoy,” Mr. Kennedy told reporters after voting against Mr. Kratsios. “And that would be Mr. Kratsios.”

During a conference in Mexico City last year, Mr. Kratsios criticized the World Trade Organization’s dispute settlement system for denying “better courts to the United States,” according to a copy of the remarks obtained by The New York Times. He went on to say that an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement “is not contingent on its outcome in the WTO dispute settlement process,” and that NAFTA needs to be given more support. The “build-out of the product segment” is lacking, he said.

Neither of Mr. Kratsios’s immediate predecessors during the Obama administration — Ernest Moniz, a Nobel Prize winner, and Steven Chu, who is now president of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — faced opposition from U.S. senators in the face of accusations of misrepresenting science.

“Mr. Moniz and Mr. Chu’s confirmation was done without much hesitation, and, to this day, their record for the country is impressive,” said Jim Lyons, a former Obama administration official. “And unlike in the case of Mr. Kratsios, those two nominees never had to go before the Senate for confirmation hearings.”

As Americans start to think about the president’s priorities, Democrats have been under pressure to reject Mr. Trump’s pick to head the Energy Department.

The Washington Post

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