"The passing of Dr. James R. Schlesinger is a great loss for the academic, scientific and intelligence communities. It is a loss for the Department of Energy and for me personally. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Schlesinger served this nation with integrity and earned the respect of his colleagues.
"As Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, he was instrumental to the establishment and shaping of the Department of Energy as a cabinet level agency. As the nation's first Secretary of Energy, Dr. Schlesinger was tasked with unifying the various energy entities throughout the government, but he did much more than that. Dr. Schlesinger took the helm of the new DOE when U.S. and global energy markets were undergoing a radical change. He navigated the nation's energy policy in the difficult, post-Arab oil embargo world. He was here for the passage and evolution of some of our most fundamental environmental laws, many of which affected how we produce and consume energy. He established the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, he supported the programs in his tenure that helped enable the growth of the U.S. solar industry and oil and gas boom we are seeing today -- we are still reaping the many benefits from his leadership of the Department.
"Dr. Schlesinger reshaped programs to fit the national energy policy and provide the structure for carrying out a nation's energy plan. His footprint can still be felt throughout the Department today. Whether you agreed with him, or disagreed with him, Jim Schlesinger always put the public interest first.
"I had the privilege of Jim Schlesinger's friendship and wisdom over the last fifteen years, starting when I served as Undersecretary, but also when I was at MIT working on energy and security issues, and now as Secretary. These interactions ranged from joint appearances at Congressional hearings, to serving on task forces under Jim's leadership, to working lunches. Indeed, we visited only recently in the DOE Secretary's office on nuclear security issues. Every discussion with Jim Schlesinger led to new insight and perspective on issues of national significance. His counsel will be missed.
"I believe I can speak for all those in the Department of Energy now and over the past decades in extending condolences to his family and friends as we reflect on his extraordinary life and contributions to the nation."