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Report: Obama Pick for Navy Energy Job Has Smooth Hearing

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Dennis V. McGinn. US House of Representatives Photo

Dennis V. McGinn. US House of Representatives Photo

A former Vietnam-era naval aviator and clean energy advocate had a smooth confirmation hearing before the Senate and will likely be confirmed at the U.S. Navy’s next energy chief, according to a Thursday report in The Wall Street Journal.

Retired Vice Adm. Dennis V. McGinn — former president and chief executive of the American Council of Renewable Energy — was nominated by the Obama administration on July 9, to be Navy’s assistant secretary for energy, installations, and environment.

McGinn did face questions from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a vocal critic of the Navy’s push into fuels derived from plants and algae.

“He asked that Mr. McGinn consult Congress before undertaking a new energy initiative – like last summer’s test of $26-per-gallon fuel made from algae and cooking oil – so that the decision ‘would not be done in a vacuum’,” reported the Journal.

Inhofe said the $170 million the Navy is spending on bio-fuel refineries could better be used for other expenditures — like preventing civilian furloughs.

Inhofe also asked for more input from Congress before the Navy entered into new energy programs.

“I look forward, if confirmed, to really looking into all of our programs including our energy programs to make sure that not only the direct cost but the opportunity cost are carefully considered in making those investments,” McGinn told the panel.

Last year, after a contentious Senate debate, the Navy was given blessing to move forward with its experimental fuel program. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has made alternative energy research a priority during his tenure.