AEA’s Top Ten Questions for Jennifer Granholm

Biden’s DOE nominee must answer for past funding failures including millions to a convicted felon, and cite what authority she would have to drive up the price of energy.

WASHINGTON DC (January 26, 2020) – Today, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) issued its top ten questions for tomorrow’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee confirmation hearing for former Michigan governor and attorney general, Jennifer Granholm. Granholm has been nominated by President Joe Biden as the next Secretary of the Department of Energy.

AEA President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement ahead of the hearing:

“Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee must make Jennifer Granholm answer for her record of funding and advocating failed green-energy companies, including handing millions of dollars to a felon convicted of embezzlement. As Governor, these failures were limited to unfortunate Michigan taxpayers. If she were to be confirmed to run the Department of Energy, she would take her failures national, impacting all of us. Only in Washington, it seems, you can fail your audition so miserably and still get a promotion.

“Jennifer Granholm is simply the wrong person to run the Department of Energy. Her record of failures in the State of Michigan is evidence enough that she is a bad manager. On top of that, she clearly has no interest in reducing the cost of energy and making the economy more efficient and competitive, or improving energy security – two central tenants in DOE’s mission.”

  1. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA), for which you approved billions of dollars in tax credits for 434 projects, only proved to be successful in 2.3 percent of projects in meeting job creation goals.
    • What have you learned from this failure?
  2. Furthermore, your track record of picking winners and losers in the energy industry is tainted by the fact that, under your leadership, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority awarded a $9.1 million deal to a man who was on parole for embezzlement.
    Would you care to explain how it is that you came to share a stage with Richard Short?What was it about his company, Renewable and Sustainable Cos., that was so compelling that your administration was prepared to subsidize his business?
  3. Some of the battery companies you promoted and funded such as A123, LG Chem, and others, built their business model off the false notion that ten years ago, electric vehicles (EVs) would be ready for mass adoption by the public. The result? Consumers found EVs were not a cost-effective means of transportation and these companies struggled. In 2019, the last year before vehicle sales were skewed by the COVID pandemic, EV sales actually fell compared to 2018 in the U.S. and globally.
    Why do you promote the use of government subsidies for EVs over trusting the American people to make good car choices themselves?
  4. According to E&E News, a well-known source for federal energy issues, the new chief of staff at DOE, Tarak Shah, recently sent an email to DOE staff stating, “We will develop and deploy technologies to tackle the climate crisis and build an equitable clean energy future” and that to achieve these clean energy goals, DOE must reorganize.
    Can you point to the statute where these “clean energy goals” your potential chief of staff is referring to?
  5. In a recent opinion you authored in The Detroit News, you noted that “Kellogg’s, General Mills, Schneider Electric and Nestle agree that a low-carbon recovery is the best choice for Michigan.” You continued, “Michigan-based companies like Ford, General Motors and Whirlpool are also doing their part in setting bold targets to address climate change. ”You then advocated, along with these companies, that current governor, Gretchen Whitmer, must “enact statewide climate mitigation strategies and invest in clean energy infrastructure.
    • If these companies are already committed to CO2 reduction strategies, why do they need the current governor to subsidize them?
    • In the same opinion piece, you stated “the private sector needs greater support and political will from our policymakers to help us fully realize the potential of a zero-carbon future.”
    • Why does the private sector need more subsidies from the American taxpayer if “the economics are clear” as you also said?
    • Additionally, when you say that the “economics are clear” in the context of needing to give the private sector “greater support and political will from our policymakers” are you saying that the economics of a low carbon economy are bad for American taxpayers?
  6. President Biden recently signed an Executive Order (EO) calling on you, if confirmed, to review two rules specifically on energy building codes.
    • If confirmed, do you plan to force states to impose stricter building codes?
  7. The Obama administration, with Mr. Biden as its vice president, set a goal to “reduce carbon pollution by at least 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030” through “efficiency standards for appliances and federal buildings.” The appliance standards program is governed by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
    • Where in the statute that controls appliance standards does the world “carbon” appear?
  8. Similarly, part of DOE’s mission is to work on “Reducing the cost of energy and making the economy more efficient and competitive.”
    • What steps will you take to reduce the cost of coal-fired electricity?
    • What steps will you take to reduce the cost of natural gas-fired electricity?
    • What will you do to reduce the cost of gasoline?
  9. One unifying thread of DOE’s work on energy is to improve U.S. energy security. On Day One, President Biden may have illegally revoked a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline The EO stated, that the “significance of the proposed pipeline for our energy security and economy is limited.”
    • Do you believe that 42,100 jobs, and possibly millions connected to it in one shape or another, is not significant?
  10. Furthermore, the EO canceling Keystone states, “approval of the proposed pipeline would undermine U.S. climate leadership by undercutting the credibility and influence of the United States in urging other countries to take ambitious climate action.” It also states, the “United States must prioritize the development of a clean energy economy, which will, in turn, create good jobs.”

The Department of Labor has issued four reports on the failed Green Jobs Program of 2009.
-The findings exposed very low standards and targets, and even those were not met.
-Half of the training programs provided five or fewer days of training. Over twenty percent of the “degrees” and certificates went to people with only one day of training.
-Job placement met only ten percent of the targeted level and a much smaller fraction remained employed for at least six months.
-The largest green-jobs category was “janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners.”
-The septic tank and portable toilet servicing industry had 33 times as many “green” jobs as did solar electricity utilities.
-At a June 6, 2012 hearing of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Chairman Darrell Issa forced the acting commission of the BLS to confirm that a list of jobs with dubious greenness counted as green.
• Can you explain how the Biden Administration’s “Green Jobs Part 2” will be successful this time around?

Gov. Granholm’s Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30am EST on January 27, 2021. The hearing will be webcast live on the committee’s website, and an archived video will be available shortly after the hearing is complete.

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