Department of Energy
In late 1998, Bill left his post as Ambassador to the U.N. to serve
as Secretary of the Department of Energy. Bill Richardson has a clear
understanding that energy will be one of the dominant issues of the 21st
Where do we get our energy from? How do we end our dependence on oil? How can we lower gas prices? How can we stabilize the Middle East? How can we beat global warming?
These issues will dominate our economic, cultural and political lives. Bill Richardson has proven experience working on these issues, and is the best equipped to tackle these problems head on.
Bill's current plan to increase our use of renewable energy is based on his experience as Energy Secretary -- he knows how to fight global warming because he has been fighting it for years.
Secretary Richardson fought hard for renewable energy, and won the President's support for requiring that 7.5 % of U.S. electricity be generated by renewable power by 2010. He also enacted tough energy efficiency standards that will save wasted energy and save millions of dollars on America's electric bills.
Nuclear proliferation is one of the most profound threats our country faces. Bill worked hard to secure our nuclear weapons, and those of other countries. At the Energy Department, Bill signed a series of nonproliferation agreements with Russia. One of these agreements was designed to spark economic growth and private sector research that would be open to out-of-work Russian nuclear scientists -- ensuring that they weren't forced into black market work with terrorist organizations or other countries.
When he started at the Department of Energy, Bill realized that there were large numbers of former government employees and contractors who were sick, dying or had died young. Many of the men and women who had worked on top secret nuclear research were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation and chemicals. They were dying because the government failed to provide a safe working environment. These were men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, but they weren't being treated with the honor they deserved. For too long the government had refused to compensate these workers and their families, and many of the victims did not want to speak out because the work they had done was still classified. Secretary Richardson defied years of bureaucratic stonewalling and traveled around the country meeting with these poisoned heroes.
It was hard work, but eventually Secretary Richardson got the government to agree to begin paying for the medical expenses of our sick and dying nuclear workers.
Bill Richardson has spent his life fighting for those who don't have a voice, and for those who have been ignored. With him it's not a question of if it's convenient or easy to fight for certain reforms -- it's about doing what's right, no matter where, or for whom.