Secretary of Energy
Live Web cast October 4, 2000 1 p.m. ET
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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.
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.
Related Web Sites
Department of Energy