Energy Secretary Rick Perry is placing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) uranium sales on hold for the rest of the year after a lawmaker held up a DOE nominee over the practice.
During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Tuesday on the DOE’s 2019 budget, Perry told GOP Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming the DOE would stop selling uranium for the rest of the year and possibly longer, The Washington Examiner reported.
Barrasso has blocked the Senate from confirming Anne White as the DOE assistant secretary for environmental management since January. The Wyoming senator held up White’s nomination to protest the DOE’s process of selling excess government-owned uranium, which has suppressed the domestic uranium industry, especially in Wyoming.
“You were unable to give me a firm commitment to immediately halt these barters, something that [Energy Secretary Rick] Perry has told me he wants to do,” Barrasso told White during her confirmation hearing at the beginning of the year, according to The Hill. “So for this reason, I am unable to support a confirmation at this time and withhold the confirmation until the department ends its practice of bartering excess uranium.”
Barrasso’s office has not indicated whether the senator will lift the hold on White’s confirmation.
If confirmed, White will oversee DOE environmental cleanup operations, which are often financed through the sale of excess uranium.