Senate committee advances Granholm nomination to lead Energy
By Rachel Frazin
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 13-4 on Wednesday to advance to the full Senate the nomination of former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) to be secretary of Energy.
Republican Sens. John Barrasso (Wyo.), Mike Lee (Utah), Bill Cassidy (La.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.) voted against Granholm, with some citing concerns about actions already taken by the Biden administration on fossil fuels.
"I can’t support a Biden administration agenda that throws my constituents out of work and kills the economies of the communities in which they live,” said Barrasso, who is slated to be the top Republican on the committee.
The nomination will now go to the full Senate, where she is expected to be confirmed.
In announcing Granholm's selection, President Biden specifically cited her role in bringing clean energy jobs to Michigan when she was governor.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who will become the committee’s chairman, praised her for how she handled the Great Recession in a speech supporting her nomination on Wednesday.
“She was up to those challenges, she helped save the domestic auto industry, she diversified Michigan’s economy, she brought in new investments and new industry and she created new jobs,” Manchin said.
“She has the leadership skills, the vision and the compassion for the people we need at the helm of the Department of Energy to face the climate challenge and at the same time preserve our energy security,” he added.
Granholm stressed the importance of creating clean energy jobs during a Senate confirmation hearing last week.
During the hearing, Republicans pressed her on whether she would keep fossil fuels as part of the energy mix.
Granholm expressed support for using still-developing carbon capture and storage technology to make use of those fuels in a cleaner way.
She also laid out her vision for the department, saying her top priorities would be ensuring U.S. national security, supporting scientific work at national labs, including their work on climate change, and deploying that research to create jobs.
The nominee also emphasized using “place-based” solutions, or solutions unique to each state, “to be able to take advantage of expertise and comparative advantages of states and build on that to allow them to diversify inside and outside their main industries.”
There have already been tensions between Republicans and the new administration on energy issues, including over Biden's decision to temporarily halt new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and revoke a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.