WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned Jennifer Granholm, President Biden’s nominee to be the next secretary of energy. Granholm testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Barrasso pressed Granholm on a number of issues, including the effects the administration’s energy goals will have on the electric grid, her views on banning sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035, creating a supply chain of critical minerals in the U.S., her position on granting relief to small refineries, her commitment to support funding a uranium reserve, stopping excess uranium from being pushed into the market, and creating a Department of Energy (DOE) office in Wyoming.
On the Effects the Administration’s Energy Goals will have on the Electric Grid:
“President Biden says he wants to: ‘achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035.’
“California has already committed itself to a carbon-free power sector by 2045, and last year we witnessed the results of that.
“California had to impose rolling blackouts on millions of its residents.
“The state had to waive environmental regulations so they could run large numbers of emergency diesel generators, and, even then, they couldn’t keep the lights on.
“To make matters worse, California residents are already paying some of the highest electricity prices in the country for not reliable energy.
“What are the facts that show it is possible to push the entire nation down this path – and to do so 10 years ahead of the California schedule – without causing blackouts, without having unacceptable service risks, or without driving up electricity prices?
“President Biden has also said he will: ‘ensur[e] 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions’ and ‘cut[ ] the carbon footprint of our national building stock in half by 2035.’
“In other words, his administration not only wants to create a carbon-free power sector by 2035,…but will saddle the electric grid with the additional burden of powering most cars and trucks in the country as well as half of the buildings that currently use natural gas.
“No one wants to see a repeat of California’s failures.
“Can you point any state agencies, or electric grid operators, or utilities that have committed to such an aggressive goal without warning people of the risks they face if they try to clamp it down?”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Granholm on effects the administration’s energy goals will have on the electric grid.
On Banning Sales of New Vehicles with Internal Combustion Engines by 2035:
“Last year, the governor of California signed an executive order banning the sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035.
“President Biden says he wants to: ‘100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions.”
“Do you support banning sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines?”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Granholm on banning the sales of new vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035.
On Creating a Supply Chain of Critical Minerals in the U.S:
“You mentioned the importance of critical minerals when we talked on the phone.
“We talked about developing our own ‘soup to nuts’ supply chain.
“Do you agree that accessing these mineral deposits are going to have to be on federal land?
“It’s going to be necessary to establish our own supply because that’s where some of these minerals are.”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Granholm on creating a supply chain of critical minerals in the U.S.
On Granting Relief to Small Refineries:
“Regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard, unlike larger oil refineries, the small refineries do not have the economies of scale to comply with our nation’s biofuel mandate.
“That is why Congress allowed small refineries to petition the EPA for what is known as hardship relief.
“Before deciding whether to grant relief, the administrator of the EPA is required to consult with the secretary of energy.
“Under the last two administrations, federal courts have rebuked EPA and the Department of Energy for failing to account for all the challenges that small refineries face under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“If confirmed, will you ensure that the department fully accounts for the challenges small refineries are facing when evaluating their petitions?”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Granholm on granting relief to small refineries.
On Funding a National Uranium Reserve:
“For years, Russia and its satellites have unfairly dumped uranium into the U.S. market as they tried to lower prices and command the world market.
“As a result, America imports over 90 percent of our uranium from other countries and over 40 percent of our uranium from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
“America’s uranium production, as a result, has dropped to levels we haven’t seen since the early 1950s because they’ve undercut our markets in an effort to try and monopolize the world market coming out of Russia.
“It is critical that we maintain our ability to produce and process our own nuclear energy.
“It’s our largest source of carbon-free electricity.
“Last year, the department requested and Congress provided funding to establish a national uranium reserve.
“Can I have your commitment that, if confirmed, you will complete the establishment of that reserve, establish a purchasing program by American produced uranium this year, which is something we passed last year?”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Granholm on supporting funds for the national uranium reserve.
On Stopping Excess Uranium from Being Pushed into the Market:
“In addition to our foreign adversaries, like Russia, the department of energy has also dumped uranium into the U.S. market.
“It has undercut the price of uranium and resulted in the cancellation of uranium projects and the loss of lots of jobs in my home state of Wyoming.
“The Government Accountability Office repeatedly found that the department of energy’s actions violated federal law.
“Thankfully, Secretary Perry largely ended this practice.
“I am asking you to have your assurance that, if confirmed, you will not put the department’s excess uranium into the market.”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Granholm on stopping excess uranium from being pushed into the market.
On Creating a DOE Office in Wyoming:
“Wyoming is a leading producer and has some of the nation’s largest reserves of coal, natural gas, oil, and uranium.
“We also have world-class researchers studying carbon capture technologies at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and at our Integrated Test Center outside of Gillette.
“The state is also a proud host of the department of energy’s CarbonSAFE program, which examines the potential of geologic formations to store carbon dioxide – all along the lines of getting to the goals that you’ve talked about.
“In July of last year, I sent the former secretary of energy, Brouillette, a letter, encouraging the department to establish a presence in the state of Wyoming.
“If confirmed, will you give serious consideration to this request to create a department of energy office in Wyoming?”
Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Granholm on creating a DOE office in Wyoming.