Overnight Energy & Environment

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate confirms former Michigan governor Granholm as Energy secretary | GOP bill would codify Trump rule on financing for fossil fuels, guns | Kennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a ‘whack job’

Former Governor of Michigan & CNN Commentator Jennifer Granholm speaks onstage

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CAN CONFIRM: The Senate on Thursday confirmed Jennifer Granholm to lead the Energy Department, making her the latest Cabinet nominee to secure confirmation this week.

She was confirmed in a 64-35 vote, with 14 Republicans joining all 50 Senate Democrats in supporting her nomination.

Granholm, who served as governor of Michigan from 2003-2011, will be tasked with helping President Biden transition the U.S. toward clean energy as part of his goal to put the country on a path toward carbon neutrality by 2050.

Her supporters have praised the work she did on jobs and clean energy in Michigan.

“I saw how she handled the difficult challenges facing her during the Great Recession, when the bottom dropped out of the auto industry in her state,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). “She helped save the domestic auto industry; she diversified Michigan’s economy; she brought in new investment in new industry and she created new jobs, leaving no worker behind.”

“She has the leadership skills, the vision and the compassion … to face the climate challenge and at the same time preserve our energy security, protect our national security, clean up the Cold War legacy and preserve our scientific and technological prowess,” he added in a floor speech ahead of the vote.

After her confirmation, Granholm tweeted: “I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. I’m impatient for results. Now let’s get to work!”

Read more on the vote here.

FOSSIL FUELS AND FIRE ARMS: Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) will introduce legislation to codify a tabled Trump administration rule that sought to force banks to serve the fossil fuel and firearms industries. 

The rule, first proposed in November, would have prohibited banks from declining to serve industries based on categorical exclusions rather than individual risk. 

It was in response to conservative concerns about banks not financing the fossil fuel industry or gun manufacturers. 

Former President Trump billed the rule as a way to ensure fair access to financing, and Cramer describes his legislation, which is unlikely to become law given Democratic control of Congress and the White House, as a matter of “fairness.”

A number of banks have placed self-imposed restrictions on financing certain fossil fuel activities such as Arctic drilling.  

Read more on the bill here.

AN APOLOGY OF SORTS: Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) apologized Thursday for calling Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), President Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary, a “whack job.”

Kennedy called Haaland a “a neo-socialist, left-of-Lenin whack job” Wednesday in remarks to reporters. On Thursday he apologized in an interview with Politico.

“I apologize. I was searching for a word for extremist, which I think is more neutral,“ Kennedy told the publication. “And I should have said extremist. I never should have said whack job.“

The Louisiana senator’s apology comes shortly after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), who was reportedly unsure of whether to back Haaland, announced he will support her nomination, likely assuring she will be confirmed.

“While we do not agree on every issue, she reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, addressing the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation’s energy independence,” Manchin said in a statement Wednesday.

Read more on his comments here.   

WHAT WE’RE READING:

Fracking permanently banned in Delaware River Basin, NJ.com reports

Texas Electric Bills Were $28 Billion Higher Under Deregulation, The Wall Street Journal reports

Tribes flex political muscle in quest to co-manage parks, E&E News reports

ICYMI:Stories from Thursday…

Kennedy apologizes for calling Haaland a ‘whack job’

Senate confirms former Michigan governor Granholm as Energy secretary

California wildfire victims sue former PG&E executives for alleged neglect

GOP bill would codify Trump rule on financing for fossil fuels, guns

FROM THE HILL’S OPINION PAGES:

Financial stability matters when it comes to tackling climate change, writes Sheila Bair, the founding chair of the Systemic Risk Council who served as the chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Washington.

Tags Deb Haaland Donald Trump Jennifer Granholm Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Kennedy Kevin Cramer

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