US Energy Secretary designate on green jobs and Yucca Mountain

1 February 2021

In her confirmation hearing on 27 January before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, President Joe Biden's nominee for energy secretary stressed the need to create new jobs through achieving the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

If confirmed, she could have a big effect quickly at the department, according to Arjun Krishnaswami, policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He noted that there is about $40 billion available for loans and loan guarantees to promote clean energy technologies. Granholm committed to ensuring there will be a focus on creating jobs in states with a history of producing fossil fuels.

On nuclear waste management, she made clear that "The administration opposes the use of Yucca Mountain for storage of nuclear waste." In its place, Granholm said DOE would return to the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Commission, whose findings in 2013 called for a consent-based siting approach to interim and long-term storage of waste. Until now, federal law and spending limitations have hindered implementation of this strategy.

Asked whether she would support policies to help revitalise the domestic uranium production industry, she confirmed that she would follow through with an initial appropriation of $75 million to establish a national uranium reserve — a priority first launched by the Trump administration.

Granholm is generally expected to be confirmed in the post.”

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