Senate Energy Committee Confirms Jennifer Granholm to be Secretary of Energy

Feb 8, 2021

by ASME.org

Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee confirmed the nomination of former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as the next Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE). The confirmation was held a week after a hearing to consider the nomination, during which Granholm outlined her priorities for executing DOE’s mission, noting “I will focus on three missions: first, the security of America through the National Nuclear Security Administration and clean-up of our Cold War legacy, ensuring that we can protect our nation. Second, supporting the amazing scientific work being done at the DOE’s 17 National Labs and other facilities across the country, including research on climate change and emissions reductions. And third, taking that research to scale, deploying it to create jobs for Americans.”

 

Governor Granholm faced a series of questions from incoming Chair of the Senate and Energy Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Ranking Member Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), both are from states that are prominent for their coal industries and are concerned about the economic impact of any action to mitigate climate change through the regulation of fossil fuel resources and their related industries. Incoming Chairman Manchin asked whether Granholm would be supportive of allocating DOE research dollars and initiatives to states who have experienced job losses in the energy sector due to expected energy transitions, and was satisfied with a response of “1000 percent, yes.” Incoming Ranking Member Barrasso pressed Granholm on previous statements supporting keeping fossil fuels ‘in the ground;’ Granholm responded by noting it is important that as we develop fossil fuel resources, we also develop technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, which will be critical to meeting the Biden Administration’s net-zero carbon emissions goals. 

 

Granholm also fielded questions on securing the supply chain and responsibly managing rare-earth mineral resources as the U.S. invests in state-of-the-art battery and energy storage technologies. Speaking on opportunities in the electric vehicle market, Granholm emphasized her experience in Michigan in supporting innovation in the domestic auto industry to capture not only the market opportunity of electric vehicles but also the manufacturing of various battery technologies, building charging stations and new electric transmission and broadband infrastructure, as well as training the next generation of STEM workers to design and build new technologies. Granholm praised the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for their work on the Energy Act of 2020, which significantly expands authorization for investment in many of the clean energy technologies critical to the Biden Administration’s ‘Build Back Better’ infrastructure and climate change mitigation agenda. 

 

To view the full hearing, visit: 

https://www.energy.senate.gov/hearings/2021/1/hearing-to-consider-nomination-of-the-honorable.

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