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What You Need to Know About Jennifer Granholm and the Department of Energy

This page was published 3 years ago. Find the latest on Earthjustice’s work.

President Biden ran on the most ambitious climate platform in U.S. history. Among his commitments are a carbon-neutral electrical grid by 2035 and investments in the energy efficiency of millions of homes and commercial buildings. Jennifer Granholm, the administration’s newly confirmed Secretary of Energy, will play a key role in advancing this agenda.

What is Secretary Granholm’s track record on the environment?

  • Granholm, the first female governor of Michigan, led the state through a period of economic turmoil during the 2008 global financial crisis. She worked with the Obama administration on a recovery plan that steered Michigan towards clean energy and electric vehicles and helped prevent the collapse of the U.S. auto industry.
  • As a former governor, Granholm has experience running large government agencies, recognizes the economic benefits of clean energy, and knows how to cultivate the public-private partnerships needed to bring clean energy solutions to scale.
  • Having been in close dealings with automakers, Granholm is a powerful advocate for the Biden administration’s plans to electrify U.S. transportation, which currently produces up to 28% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the core functions of the Department of Energy (DOE)?

  • DOE manages the U.S. nuclear infrastructure, and funds crucial scientific and technological innovations in clean energy.
  • It sets energy efficiency standards for appliances and other equipment that can help the U.S. avoid 7 billion tons of carbon pollution by 2030.
  • As climate change brings more extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires, DOE is also responsible for making our energy system more resilient to these hazards.

How can the Department of Energy move the U.S. toward a pollution-free, clean energy economy?

  • The agency should make unprecedented investments in clean energy and electric transportation, buildings, and industry.
  • DOE should work with Congress to make sure investments and tax incentives go to clean energy, not fossil fuels, and benefit the communities most affected by pollution.
  • DOE should immediately reverse the Trump administration’s rollback of appliance energy efficiency standards.

Under the Trump administration, Earthjustice has held the Department of Energy accountable:

  • We took the DOE to court for failing to meet 25 deadlines for reviewing and updating energy efficiency standards as required by law, while also weakening existing standards and making future standards less effective.
  • We fought back against efforts by Trump administration’s DOE to bail out coal executives and prop up aging and unprofitable coal plants.

Looking forward, we welcome the opportunity to work with Granholm to restore DOE’s leadership on climate change, accelerate the transition to clean energy, and address environmental injustices across the nation.

Former Governor of Michigan & CNN Commentator Jennifer Granholm speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019.
Former Governor of Michigan & CNN Commentator Jennifer Granholm speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco, 2019. (Steve Jennings / Getty Images for TechCrunch)