Biden Gets His Energy Chief

Senate confirms Jennifer Granholm, an advocate of cleaner cars
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 25, 2021 12:28 PM CST
Biden Gets Energy Chief Whose Focus Is Green
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm testifies before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a confirmation hearing in January.   (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be President Joe Biden’s energy secretary, per the AP. The vote was 64-35. Granholm, who served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry, will be a key player in Biden's vision for a green economy as the United States fights to slow climate change. Michigan was devastated by the 2008 recession, and Granholm has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the US transitions away from oil, coal, and other fossil fuels. During her confirmation hearing last month, Granholm, pushed her plans to embrace new wind and solar technologies. But her position caused tension with some Republicans who fear for the future of fossil fuels.

“We can buy electric car batteries from Asia or we can make them in America,” Granholm, 62, told senators. “We can install wind turbines from Denmark or we can make them in America.'' Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said the Obama administration “went on a regulatory rampage to slow or stop energy production.” Barrasso and other Republicans have complained that a freeze imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands is taking a “sledgehammer” to Western states’ economies. Granholm assured lawmakers that creating jobs was her top priority—and Biden's. “In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions," she said at her Jan. 27 hearing.

(More Jennifer Granholm stories.)

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