Granholm Slated to Become Department of Energy Secretary

The Senate confirmation hearing for Energy Secretary nominee Jennifer Granholm is set to take place this week, and as the hearing got underway, the USW reiterated its support for the former Michigan governor. 

“She is a great friend to labor and our union,” said USW Vice President At-Large Roxanne Brown.“ Our union worked with her when she was governor of Michigan and afterwards on issues like climate change and the important role U.S. workers play in the clean energy economy.

“She is also a very strong proponent of domestic manufacturing and advanced manufacturing,” Brown said.

When her nomination was announced late last year, USW International President Tom Conway said that Granholm knows that domestic manufacturing must be a priority and that it is necessary to balance environmental progress with preserving good-paying manufacturing jobs.

“Our union worked closely with her in the past through the BlueGreen Alliance (BGA) and other initiatives, so we are  certain she will keep American workers in the foreground as she begins her work,” Conway said.

Brown said the USW plans to meet with Granholm after she is confirmed. Her confirmation hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 27.  If confirmed, she is slated to begin work as the new DOE Secretary the beginning of February.

New DOE senior leaders

The Biden-Harris administration last week announced its new senior leadership team for the DOE, including Tarak Shah who will serve as chief of staff. The DOE chief of staff directs the Office of the Secretary, assists in the daily management of the $39.6 billion, 109,000 employee agency, and helps implement the Secretary’s policy initiatives.

The new leaders will direct the agency’s policy, coordinate with the administration and other departments, and enact President Joe Biden’s plan to address climate change and its impact on those most affected by it, according to a DOE news release.

“These experienced professionals reflect President Biden’s pledge to equip his administration with a team that represents America’s diversity,” said the release.

For a list of the new DOE senior leadership team members and their backgrounds, go HERE.

In addition to the Biden-Harris appointees, David G. Huizenga will serve as Acting Secretary of Energy until Granholm is confirmed. He was most recently Associate Principal Deputy Administrator for the NNSA and has been a career DOE employee since 1987.

Huizenga appeared before the USW’s Atomic Energy Workers Council (AEWC) several times over the years to discuss nuclear issues and listen to the council members’ concerns.

DOE reorganization

The Biden administration reorganized the DOE to reflect the president’s goal for an equitable carbon-free future and to address the climate crisis. It merged the Offices of Energy and Science to form the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy.

This new office will oversee the Office of Nuclear Energy and brings all of the energy programs under one undersecretary, so the agency can coordinate its research and development programs to respond to climate change.

DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) now reports to the Energy Secretary’s office instead of the Undersecretary for Science. Ike White is continuing to serve as acting head of EM until the administration nominates and confirms a permanent replacement.

As of press time, the administration had not announced the nominees for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), DOE offices of Environmental Management and Nuclear Energy or their Undersecretaries.

DOE Chief of Staff Tarak Shah said that once Congress confirms the Energy Secretary, DOE’s organizational chart will be reviewed again and potentially modified.

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