Energy & Environment

Barrasso calls for investigation into Granholm ties to electric vehicle company

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Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) is calling for an investigation into Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm over her connections with a company that makes electric buses, batteries and chargers. 

In a letter Monday, the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee asked the Energy Department’s inspector general to look into “potential conflicts of interest” related to the company Proterra, where Granholm formerly held a board position. 

“In light of concerns about a potential conflict of interest associated with Secretary Granholm’s significant investment in the electric bus, battery, and charging company Proterra, Inc. … I request that DOE’s Office of Inspector General promptly initiate a review of Secretary Granholm’s ethical, regulatory, and  statutory obligations; her relationship with Proterra, Inc. … and her or her staffs’ participation in or promotion of activities by the Biden Administration to advocate for electric vehicles (including electric buses), batteries, and charging infrastructure,” Barrasso wrote. 

Barrasso raised concerns about Granholm’s activities in promoting electric vehicles, batteries and charging infrastructure. He also noted that President Biden took a virtual tour of a Proterra manufacturing plant. 

Granholm said in ethics forms that she would resign from her position upon confirmation and forfeit unvested stock options at that time. She also said she would divest her vested stock options no later than 180 days after her confirmation. 

An Energy Department spokesperson told The Hill that Granholm did not play a role in Biden’s tour of the Proterra facility and has stepped down from its board. 

The spokesperson also said Granholm is in the process of divesting her holdings in accordance with the 180 days allowed in her ethics agreement.

“Since day one in office, Secretary Granholm has acted in full accordance with the comprehensive ethical standards set by the Biden Administration — and any insinuation otherwise is entirely false,” the spokesperson said via email.

The department’s inspector general’s office declined to comment. 

Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan includes the goal of investing $174 billion “to win the [electric vehicle] market” as well as building a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers, replacing 50,000 diesel vehicles and electrifying at least 20 percent of the yellow school bus fleet.

Tags battery Electric vehicles Energy Energy Department Energy Department Jennifer Granholm Joe Biden John Barrasso

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