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Biden to select Granholm as Energy secretary: reports

The Hill logo The Hill 12/16/2020 Rachel Frazin
a little girl standing in front of a building: Jennifer Granholm, Democratic National Convention © Getty Images Jennifer Granholm, Democratic National Convention

Joe Biden will select former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) to be his Energy secretary, according to multiple reports Tuesday.

Granholm led the state from 2003 to 2011, which included a period of economic distress during the Great Recession.

A source familiar with the transition team's thinking declined to confirm to The Hill whether Granholm would be chosen, but emphasized that Granholm is crisis-tested and worked with Biden on the economic recovery.

The person also said that Granholm helped to make Michigan a leader on clean energy while also creating good-paying union jobs, reflecting tenets of Biden's campaign pledges.

The Biden-Harris transition team declined to comment.

According to her official bio, while serving as governor, Granholm worked to diversify Michigan's economy, which had been largely based on auto manufacturing, including by growing the state's alternative energy sector.

If she's confirmed to the top Energy role, Granholm would have purview over a wide-ranging department that deals with everything from appliance efficiency to energy production to nuclear security.

And given Biden's naming of climate change as one of his top priorities, Granholm will also likely have to bring climate action to the forefront in the role.

One such credential Granholm boasts is issuing a directive requiring a statewide environmental justice plan.

Prior to becoming governor, Granholm served as Michigan's attorney general.

The reported selection comes as other figures viewed as potential picks to lead the Energy Department under Biden, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, faced scrutiny from progressives over their fossil fuel ties, despite having more experience working at the department.

Left-wing environmentalists appeared more open to Granholm.

"We're glad that President-elect Biden is listening to the thousands of climate justice activists who opposed fossil fuel representatives like Ernest Moniz for Secretary of Energy," Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner Lisa Ramsden said in a statement Tuesday. "Jennifer Granholm has forcefully spoken out against both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines and advocated for shifting investment from oil and gas to renewable energy solutions. That's the kind of leadership the Department of Energy has been sorely missing."

Ramsden added that Granholm still "has her work cut out for her to prove she can lead the transition to a more just, democratic, clean energy system."

Updated at 7:07 p.m.

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