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Comer Calls Biden Energy Secretary to Testify Before Congress

The House Oversight Committee says the Department of Energy had not been cooperative while staff attempted to schedule a meeting with Secretary Jennifer Granholm

Comer Calls Biden Energy Secretary to Testify Before Congress

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has asked President Joe Biden’s top energy official to testify.

Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer invited Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to speak at a hearing on May 15 at 10:00 A.M. Staff for the committee had previously contacted the Department of Energy on Jan. 23 but the agency declined to participate in meetings scheduled for April 30, May 1, May 15 or 16, and June 12 or 13.

The Oversight Committee has worked expeditiously to expose the Biden Administration’s radical environmental policies and unchecked regulations that have jeopardized economic opportunities, raised energy costs on Americans, and hurt small businesses,” Comer said in a March 27 statement. “Over the past few months, the Committee has engaged in good faith with the Energy Department to solidify a future date for DOE Secretary Granholm to testify at a public hearing, yet the Department continues to indicate the Secretary is unavailable for any proposed hearing dates.”

The committee is seeking information regarding the “increased risk of waste, fraud, and abuse” at the Department of Energy as well as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Granholm’s “taxpayer-funded summer 2023 electric vehicle road trip,” and the federal government’s decision to pause liquified natural gas (LNG) exports.

In the letter to Granholm, Comer said his committee has heard from “Department witnesses on topics including increased department spending levels, energy efficiency standards, critical minerals, and nuclear energy.”

“The expansive nature of these topics and your direct involvement as the leader of the Department necessitates your participation in this hearing,” he wrote. He also scolded Granholm for not confirming her availability and slowing his committee’s work.

“To avoid any further delay in scheduling this hearing, and to reiterate my invitation for you to testify as opposed to a subordinate official, I now write to you directly to invite you to appear,” Comer wrote.

Granholm has also been asked to explain how a proposed rule change from the Department of Energy will impact jobs in Ohio. Congressman Mike Kelly invited the secretary to attend a town hall meeting to discuss the impact of a potential regulation on Grain Oriented Electrical Steel production. The Energy Department wants to increase the efficiency standard for distribution transformers, which the Ohio congressman says are already 97.7% energy efficient.

"I believe it is essential for Secretary Granholm to explain to the Butler community why this rule is so important and why it's worth risking 1,300 family-sustaining jobs," Rep. Kelly said in a March 25 press release. "This rule is shortsighted, it's wrongheaded, and threatens the entire regional economy. If the Secretary insists this rule is necessary, I believe she deserves to explain why to those who would be greatly impacted by her decision."

Biden has made progressive environmental policy a legislative priority for his administration.

The day after Kelly extended his invasion, Granholm was in Michigan announcing a new program designed to create apprenticeships for battery machine operators for the electric vehicle industry. She argued supporting the creation of electric vehicles would be an economic win for America. 

“President Biden is leading a renaissance in American manufacturing, and nowhere is that more evident than with the rapid growth of investment in electric vehicle production,” said Granholm in a statement. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we have seen over 400 EV and battery manufacturing facilities announced in the U.S. in just three years, underscoring the need for a strong and supported skilled workforce. The Battery Workforce Initiative is part of our whole-of-government approach to revitalize industry and rebuild our economy from the bottom up and the middle out, providing American workers with good paying forward looking careers.”

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