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DOE head pledges to invest in states that lost energy jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Governor Jennifer Granholm to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

During the hearing, Granholm committed to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the incoming Chairman of the Committee, that DOE will prioritize investments in states that have lost traditional energy jobs.

“People feel like they’ve been left behind. In those areas that have been ravaged because of the market changes, how do we keep them in an opportunity situation? What can the Department of Energy help those areas with,” Manchin asked.

“This is the most important question, honestly, because we know that this transition is happening. We cannot leave our people behind. In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions, to make those technologies here, to put people to work here, and to look at other ways to diversify. These “place based” solutions [will] 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 is a partnership that we could have through the Department of Energy,” Granholm said.

“There’s a lot of money that’s going to be put towards the Department of Energy for research and development, new technologies, manufacturing tax credits incentives, and so on. Would you be supportive of prioritizing that money to be used in the states that lost traditional jobs,” asked Manchin.

“1000%! Yes,” Granholm said.

“Innovation–not elimination–is the way to go. Everybody can be brought along and taken care of if we can recognize the people who have done the heavy lifting. I know you well enough to know that you’ll be sympathetic to the people who are asking for a chance to provide for themselves and their families,” said Manchin.

“We have to make sure that we don’t leave people behind. People who have been disproportionately affected by these transitions feel like they’ve been forgotten. That’s not whats going to happen. The Biden Administration has pledged to commit 40% of the benefits of this clean energy transition to communities that have been left behind and communities in transition. We have to commit to getting job providers into these communities and give them hope for the future,” Granholm said.

Manchin also expressed his support for Granholm’s nomination to be the 16th Secretary of Energy.

“Governor Granholm demonstrated in Michigan the vision and leadership that the nation needs to tackle the challenges we now face at the national level — including tackling climate change while ensuring no worker is left behind and our energy security remains uncompromised. We are very fortunate to have such a well-qualified and talented nominee for the important position of Secretary of Energy. I whole-heartedly support her nomination,” Manchin said.

Manchin questioned Granholm on the Department of Energy’s role in ensuring that workers from traditional energy producing communities are not left behind in the energy transition.

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