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Senate to Vote on Energy Secretary Nominee

Senate confirmation of Energy Secretary nominee Samuel Bodman, which appeared to be on track to occur last Wednesday, is expected to take place today (Jan. 31), a press aide for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said.

One or more senators objected to unanimous consent last Wednesday to proceed to the confirmation of Bodman, said Bill Wicker, a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the ranking Democrat on the Senate energy panel. As a result, the Senate was forced to set aside the confirmation until this week.

Although he has scant energy background, most agree that Bodman will win Senate confirmation. No senators have indicated yet that they plan to place a hold on his nomination, said Marnie Funk, a spokeswoman for Senate Energy Chairman Pete Domenici (R-NM).

The Senate energy panel unanimously voted out Bodman's nomination to the full Senate last Wednesday, one week after holding his confirmation hearing (see NGI, Jan. 24).

Bodman, who is deputy secretary in the Treasury Department, will succeed Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, a former senator from Michigan who has overseen the Bush administration's energy policy for the past four years.

At his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this month, Bodman declared his support for comprehensive energy legislation, saying it will be "among the most important matters to come before this Congress" in the upcoming months.

Bodman, 66, said he also would be an "energetic advocate" for opening the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and natural gas drilling. He indicated that ANWR was an important piece of the Bush administration's energy policy.

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