Bill Richardson
Secretary of Energy
Live Web cast October 4, 2000 1 p.m. ET

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Bill Richardson
Bill Richardson was sworn in as the ninth U.S. Secretary of Energy on August 18, 1998, following his unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate. He is the highest ranking Hispanic in the Clinton Administration. Upon nominating Richardson to the energy post, President Bill Clinton remarked, "If there's one word that comes to mind when I think of Bill Richardson, it really is energy."

During his tenure, Richardson has had his plate full, dealing with issues of security versus collaborative science in the department's nuclear research laboratories, shepherding the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, and signing a series of nonproliferation agreements, including one in which Russia will convert uranium from its nuclear weapons into fuel for U.S. nuclear reactors.

He has worked to expedite the cleanup of contaminated DOE sites by opening a low-level nuclear waste dump in New Mexico and signing statements of principles with governors on cleanup and closure strategy. He also has negotiated a plan to cleanup and remove 10 million tons of radioactive uranium mill tailings which threatened the Colorado River (and the drinking water source for 25 million Americans).

In addition, he has presided over administration effort to combat rising oil prices, negotiated with major oil producing countries to recognize the need for increased production, and unveiled a series of steps to ease home heating oil crisis

Prior to becoming energy secretary, Richardson served in 1997-1998 as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations following seven terms as a U.S. congressman from New Mexico.

At the U.N., Richardson addressed numerous difficult international negotiating challenges and crises including Iraq, unpaid U.S. dues, Zaire, and Afghanistan. While representing New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District, one of the most ethnically diverse in the country (40 percent Hispanic, 40 percent Anglo, 20 percent Native American), he served as Chief Deputy Democratic Whip, he was a longtime and active member of the House Commerce, Resources and Intelligence Committees.

Richardson has served as President Clinton's special envoy on many sensitive missions, and has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize. As a diplomatic "trouble-shooter," he has negotiated the release of hostages, American servicemen, and prisoners in North Korea, Iraq, Cuba, and Sudan.

Richardson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in 1970 and a Master of Arts degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971. He is fluent in Spanish. Richardson and his wife, Barbara, maintain homes in Washington, D.C. and New Mexico.

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Department of Energy