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By Ros Krasny
WASHINGTON, June 19 The U.S. Department of
Energy's number two official, Daniel Poneman, will leave the
agency after more than five years, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
said on Thursday, the second senior U.S. energy official in a
week to announce his departure.
"Dan let me know he intends to step down this fall so that
he and his family can move on to their next adventure," Moniz
said in an email to agency staff.
Poneman, U.S. deputy secretary of energy since May 2009 and
also chief operating officer, has been focused on nuclear safety
and proliferation, among other issues.
He briefly served as acting secretary in 2013 before Moniz's
"He's a 'people person,' and this quality has been a
tremendous asset for the department, especially in developing
partnerships internationally," Moniz said. "Dan is a great
friend, colleague and public servant."
Moniz also praised a recent half-Ironman triathlon completed
by his athletic deputy: "I'm sure that Dan will 'run through the
tape' as he completes his marathon tenure."
Poneman was instrumental in the department's emergency
response to crises including negotiations with Iran in 2009,
Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy,
which pummeled the U.S. East Coast in 2012, Moniz added.
Last week Poneman co-chaired a meeting of the U.S.-Japan
Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation in Tokyo, the
third in a series convened to develop joint approaches to
nuclear safety and environmental management.
Poneman's departure follows news Friday that Carlos Pascual,
head of the State Department's office in charge of energy
diplomacy, will step down in August.
Pascual is credited with having played a key role in getting
countries such as China, India and Japan to cooperate with
Western sanctions on Iran.
"First Pascual. Now Poneman, Obama team losing
senior/seasoned leaders with broad respect," Fred Hutchison of
LNG Allies, a lobbying group devoted to expanding U.S. energy
exports, said on Twitter. "Successors key."
In his email Moniz said the timing of Poneman's departure
"leaves ample time for the President to nominate and for the
Congress to confirm" a successor.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Eric Beech
and Meredith Mazzilli)