President Biden’s climate-inspired executive orders are resulting in his Cabinet picks getting grilled over the ensuing job losses that come from halting various projects.
On Wednesday, it was Energy Secretary nominee Jennifer Granholm, who was peppered with questions about the impact of Biden’s ban on future gas and oil leases on federal lands.
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“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?” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., asked after stating that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost across multiple states as a result of the moratorium.
In response, Granholm acknowledged that jobs may be “sacrificed” as a result of Biden’s actions, but expressed optimism that the gains would ultimately outweigh the losses.
“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 said.
“But I will say this, no job — we don’t want to see any jobs sacrificed,” she added.
Further addressing the moratorium on public lands, Granholm said that “for those states that have these jobs in abundance is something we’re going to have to work on together to ensure that people remain employed.”
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Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., questioned whether or not President Biden even cares that jobs are being lost. He recalled that when Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg testified at his confirmation hearing, he said that new jobs may not arise for years.
“I totally get the concern about job losses. Totally,” Granholm said.
Cassidy said that for a worker who just lost their job it is “cold comfort” to know that years from now there could be a job in a different location requiring different training.
“I completely understand what you are saying,” Granholm said. “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.”
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Granholm’s grilling came after similar lines of questioning at the confirmation hearings of Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary nominee Gina Raimondo. Sen. Ted Cruz brought up the issue with both of them in the context of the halting of the Keystone XL pipeline.
After Buttigieg expressed optimism that the thousands of jobs lost will be offset by new positions created as the new administration shifts towards climate-conscious goals, Cruz pressed him on what this actually means.
“So for those workers, the answer is somebody else will get a job?” Cruz asked.
Buttigieg responded that he and the administration “are very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good-paying union jobs, even if they might be different ones.”
At Raimondo’s hearing, Cruz mentioned the 11,000 jobs expected to be lost as a result of ending work on the pipeline and asked what the nominee had to say to those workers.
“I would say, ‘We’re going to get you to work,'” Raimondo replied. “I would say that climate change is a threat to all of us, and that we will make sure that you have jobs, that you have the skills you need to have a job, and by the way as we meet the needs of climate change, there will be many jobs created, good-paying jobs, union jobs. And should I be the commerce secretary I will fight every single day for every American to have a decent paying job and a chance to compete.”