Moniz taps Union of Concerned Scientists’ leader for chief of staff

Source: Emily Yehle, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has recruited the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists to be his chief of staff.

Kevin Knobloch has headed UCS for a decade, and in a statement today, he said it was a post he would leave only “for a call to public service of this order.”

“The priorities of Secretary Moniz and the DOE, including reducing carbon emissions, expanding clean renewable energy, and reducing the threat of nuclear weapons and fissile material, have been passions throughout my career,” Knobloch said. “This is a strong opportunity to improve the health and safety of all Americans.”

Knobloch became president of UCS in 2003, after serving as executive director for four years and, years earlier, as the group’s legislative director for arms control and national security. His environmental credentials are extensive, including a stint as the chairman of the Green Group, a coalition of the CEOs of national environmental organizations. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Environmental League of Massachusetts.

In an email to staff this afternoon, Moniz announced that Knobloch would begin at DOE on Monday.

“Over the past few weeks, one of my top priorities has been to assemble a leadership team of incredibly talented individuals from both inside and outside the Department,” Moniz wrote, later adding: “I am confident that Kevin’s deep understanding of energy issues and experience as an outstanding manager will be of incredible value to the Department.”

Knobloch is one of several people Moniz has tapped for his leadership team in the weeks since he was confirmed by the Senate. Last week, Moniz told reporters he had hired three senior advisers and expected President Obama to nominate officials for nearly 10 Senate-confirmed positions that are vacant or being filled in an acting capacity (E&E Daily, June 14).

At UCS, Executive Director Kathleen Rest will take the helm as the group searches for a new president. In a statement, Rest said Knobloch’s appointment “underscores the energy secretary’s commitment to making sensible, forward-thinking choices that protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations.”