Senate Confirms R&D Nominees

WASHINGTON, D.C.--After months of waiting in nominee limbo, Neal Lane can finally take over as head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The Senate today confirmed Lane and a batch of other nominees for senior R&D posts in the Clinton Administration, as it rushed to finish business before starting a monthlong recess. Also confirmed was former United Nations envoy Bill Richardson to the post of energy secretary and Rosina Bierbaum as Lane's associate director for environment at OSTP.

Lane's confirmation is good news for Rita Colwell as well. Colwell, a microbiologist and president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, was confirmed on 22 May as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). But she has had to wait for Lane to relinquish his job as NSF chief, which he has held since 1993.

Richardson faced a stormy confirmation hearing last week, but bipartisan support for filling the Energy Department position vacated last month by Federico Peña overrode concerns among some senators about the state of nuclear waste.