From canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline permit, which was projected to employ 11,000 Americans, to banning new oil and gas leases on federal land, Energy Secretary nominee Jennifer Granholm faced tough questions during a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday over the job losses President Biden’s climate agenda will result in.
During a line of questioning from Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), whose state will reportedly lose tens of thousands of jobs over the ban, Granholm admitted some jobs will be “sacrificed.”
"I'm just curious how a long-term ban consistent with the president's goal of unifying our country and putting Americans back to work and helping our economies grow, how is that all consistent?" the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources asked.
“I think the president’s plan of building back better … would create more jobs in energy, clean energy, than the jobs that might be sacrificed,” Granholm replied. “But I will say this, no job — we don't want to see any jobs sacrificed.”
.@SenJohnBarrasso to @JenGranholm on banning oil, gas, and coal leasing & permitting on federal lands: “A long-term ban on oil and gas leasing would cost 62,000 jobs in New Mexico, 33,000 jobs in Wyoming, and 18,000 jobs in Colorado.” pic.twitter.com/sR1gwMukvk— Senate Energy GOP (@EnergyGOP) January 27, 2021
She later said where there is a heavy concentration of these type of jobs in states, “we’re going to have to work on together to ensure that people remain employed.”
Others, like Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), pointed out that it will not be a comfort to these workers to know that perhaps they can switch to a job in the green energy industry down the road, in another state.
“If you’ve lost a job that is putting food on your table now, it’s cold comfort to know that years from now, in a different state, perhaps with a different training … there will be another job available,” he said.
Granholm acknowledged the “concern” about job losses and pivoted to her experience as governor of Michigan when renewable energy jobs were brought to the state.
“What I can tell you is from my experience in Michigan is that when we focused on providing incentives for job providers to locate in Michigan in clean energy they came,” she said.
Barrasso later commented on Twitter about Granholm's remarks, saying that “No American should have their job “sacrificed” – Not now. Not ever.”