In a letter dated Sunday, November 14, Department of Energy Secretary
Spencer Abraham submitted his resignation to President Bush. The Secretary's
resignation will become effective when his successor is approved by
Abraham served as energy secretary during the entire first term of
President Bush. Warned during his January 2001 Senate confirmation hearing
that he was "stepping into a quagmire of problems," Abraham
began his tenure just as California was experiencing its first blackouts.
Many of the long-running problems that confronted the nation when Abraham
became secretary continued to receive his attention during his four
years in office: the development and production of nuclear weapons,
nuclear non proliferation, the disposal of nuclear waste, the role and
function of the national laboratories, and constrained funding for scientific
The Department of Energy is of great importance to the physics community
as it supports 40% of all basic research in the physical sciences. DOE
provides funding for 69% of physics research, 90% of funding for high
energy and nuclear physics, and 100% of the funding for plasma science.
The department manages 17 national laboratories and funds research at
250 universities throughout the United States.
Secretary Abraham's letter follows:
November 14, 2004
The White House
Dear President Bush,
I write to once again congratulate you on your re-election.
The voters have strongly endorsed your record and vision for this
country and have delivered a highly deserved vote of confidence in
you. Clearly, the strength, determination and unflinching leadership
you have demonstrated has been fully recognized and appreciated by
I also write to thank you for having given me the privilege
of serving in your administration. It has been an honor to be part
of your team and to have worked with you and Vice President Cheney
and I am extremely proud and grateful to have been able to contribute
and help advance your agenda.
I believe that our successes in the Department of Energy
during the past four years clearly reflect the commitment you have
made to America's long term energy and national security.
Since 2001 we have developed the nation's first comprehensive
energy plan in over a decade and implemented 90% of its recommendations.
We have launched the most ambitious new energy technology initiatives
in the world with our Hydrogen and Future Gen programs. We have embarked
upon a program to accelerate the clean up of our former weapons sites
and reduced by 50 years the timeframe for the complete remediation
of our sites. We have pressed ahead with the Yucca Mountain project
and undertaken a whole new wave of technology initiatives aimed at
improving the safety and long range stability of nuclear energy as
a long term power source. We have expanded and accelerated our non
proliferation programs with Russia and as a result significantly reduced
the timeframe needed to secure Russia's nuclear materials. We have
also dramatically expanded the scope of our programs beyond Russia
through the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and are on the road
to eliminating the risk of nuclear terrorism worldwide. We have successfully
launched an ambitious initiative to modernize our weapons complex
so that we can retain our capabilities to meet any 21st century threat.
And, in some ways most importantly, we have achieved incredible success
in the implementation of the President's Management Agenda, achieving
the highest attainment levels in all but one area and significantly
improving the management and operations of the Department.
All of these accomplishments are the result of your leadership
and the support you have provided the Energy Department's efforts
and I want to thank you on behalf of everyone at DOE for what you
One of the challenges of public life, as you know, is properly
balancing the demands of one's job with the family and personal commitments
one faces. As you know, we have three elementary age children and
these past four years have posed significant challenges on our family
in many ways. Looking ahead, Jane and I have concluded that these
challenges will be very difficult to address consistent with the commitment
called for in the Energy Secretary's post. Accordingly, and with the
utmost respect I have decided that it will not be possible for me
to continue to serve as Energy Secretary. Therefore, I hereby submit
my resignation from this post to become effective upon the confirmation
of my successor.
Mr. President, I am confident that the success we have already
achieved will continue and be enlarged in your second term. With larger
Republican congressional majorities - especially in the Senate - much
needed energy legislation will finally be enacted. In addition, I
am certain that the progress we have been making on other fronts will
continue as well, and I stand ready to continue to help you, the Vice
President, my successor and your administration in any way I can to
advance your agenda in the future.
Again, thank you so much for the chance to have served you
and the country.