Biden Energy secretary pick Jennifer Granholm has past ties to utilities, chemical companies

President-elect Joe Biden’s anticipated pick for Energy secretary has ties to a number of influential political donors, together with companies from an business she might have to regulate if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic former governor of Michigan, is likely to be formally introduced as Biden’s selection to lead the Department of Energy.

While she led Michigan from 2003 till 2011, Granholm supported legal guidelines that inspired power effectivity. Campaign finance data present that her earlier stances on power and different insurance policies have led, partially, to marketing campaign funding from numerous companies and their leaders, together with DTE Energy.

In 2008, she signed into regulation a bundle that will require extra electrical energy to come from renewable sources and curtail competitors amongst energy companies, in accordance to a local report at the time.

Since her time as governor, Granholm has been supportive of the idea of electric and autonomous cars and has pushed again on any potential influence the creation of those autos may have on jobs.

Biden’s campaign energy plan features a push for a “100% clean energy economy,” for the U.S. to attain “net-zero emissions no later than 2050” and for a “historic investment in clean energy and climate research and innovation.”

People conversant in the transition informed CNBC that Granholm has a robust report when it comes to clear power. They stated she helped remodel Michigan’s economic system, making her a great selection for Energy secretary if she’s nominated. Part of her success, these individuals famous, concerned listening to all stakeholders throughout the spectrum. Granholm would convey that very same mindset to working the Department of Energy, they stated.

A transition official informed CNBC that the Biden administration will maintain all officers to the very best moral requirements and guarantee transparency. Both the sources and the transition official declined to be named as Granholm has not formally been chosen for the put up.

The Department of Energy’s workplace of enforcement “within the General Counsel’s Office engages in compliance and enforcement efforts to ensure products sold in the U.S. meet the energy and water conservation standards,” in accordance to the division’s web site. The division regulates utility companies, which in the past has included Michigan-based DTE and Consumers Energy.

The DTE portfolio contains electrical and pure fuel utilities in addition to “non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading,” in accordance to the corporate’s web site.

In the buildup to Granholm’s 2006 bid for reelection towards GOP businessman Dick DeVos, the husband of present Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Granholm’s marketing campaign noticed a minimum of $34,000 from DTE’s political motion committee, in accordance to Michigan election data reviewed by CNBC.

Between marketing campaign contributions from DTE’s firm PAC, Granholm appointed Stephen Ewing, the then president and chief operating officer of DTE Energy Gas, to the board of Michigan’s Early Childhood Investment Corporation. Ewing individually gave $3,400 in 2004 to Granholm’s marketing campaign, data present.

The ECIC was created in 2005 to “increase public and private investment in the earliest years, to elevate issues affecting young children and their families, and continuously improve Michigan’s comprehensive early childhood system.”

The ECIC is run, partially, by the chief committee, which is chosen by Michigan’s governor. Although it stays unclear the precise date of Ewing’s appointment, the ECIC web site says board members serve three-year phrases. The press launch saying Ewing’s appointment says his time period expired in 2008.

DTE has stated it needs to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 for both its electric and gas companies. The nonprofit Energy News Network reported that critics of the proposal level to a DTE executive compensation package potentially at odds with the company’s carbon neutral goal as a result of, the positioning says, it encourages firm leaders to preserve open their coal crops.

CMS Energy additionally supported Granholm’s runs for governor. The firm PAC contributed a minimum of $25,000 between 2004 and 2006.

“CMS Energy Corporation’s business strategy is focused primarily on its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy Company, Michigan’s largest electric and natural gas utility, serving 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents,” the corporate web site says.

Meanwhile, one among Granholm’s former high aides on power coverage, Brandon Hofmeister, continues to be listed as an govt at CMS’ Consumers Energy Company, with a title of senior vp of governmental, regulatory and public affairs. Hofmeister may find yourself becoming a member of the Energy Department to be one among Granholm’s advisors.

As governor, Granholm additionally took a strong stance on the environment and climate change, one thing that might come into play if she turns into Energy secretary. Yet, in 2003 Granholm’s marketing campaign took $5,000 from the Dow Chemical worker political motion committee. Dow, which is headquartered in Michigan and completed a merger with chemical giant DuPont in 2017, has been underneath scrutiny for years.

After her second time period as governor resulted in 2011, Granholm joined the Dow board and later give up to host “The War Room” on former vice president Al Gore’s Current TV.

Dow’s former CEO, Andrew Liveris, was the head of President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council. The firm reportedly pushed Trump to ignore a study by scientists that claimed Dow’s pesticides are dangerous to almost 2,000 animal species.

In 2019, the corporate reached a $77 million settlement with the federal authorities, the state of Michigan and a Native American tribe. A report by Reuters says the cash will go towards environmental restoration tasks and resolve a lawsuit that accused Dow of releasing hazardous chemical compounds.

Dow has been criticized by environmentalists for beforehand polluting Michigan’s water. The Environmental Protection Agency says chemical compounds from Dow’s plant “have resulted in on- and off-site contamination.” The “[o]ff-site contamination extends over 50 miles downstream through the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and into Saginaw Bay,” the EPA report says.

Before becoming a member of the corporate’s board, Granholm as governor hailed the creation of a $665 million Dow plant in Michigan that will deal with battery manufacturing. “It’s a revolution to lead the nation,” Granholm informed a crowd during the 2009 unveiling of the project. The plant went on-line in 2011 and was anticipated to make use of a minimum of 800 individuals.

Granholm referred to as Liveris a “great visionary leader” on the time.

Granholm and the companies talked about on this story didn’t reply to requests for remark.

During her profitable struggle for reelection, Granholm additionally noticed contributions from an array of big-money donors from throughout the nation, together with many on Wall Street and in Hollywood.

Josh Bekenstein, the present co-chair of funding juggernaut Bain Capital, gave $3,400 to Granholm’s marketing campaign in 2005. That identical yr her marketing campaign noticed equal contributions from Roger Altman, founding father of the funding agency Evercore, and billionaire George Soros.

Before Valerie Jarrett turned a key advisor for President Barack Obama, she gave $3,000 to Granholm’s marketing campaign in 2005. Then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who was recently chosen by Biden to be special presidential envoy for climate, held a fundraising lunch in 2006 for Granholm at his house in Boston. Michigan data present that the Kerry occasion raised over $12,000 for Granholm’s reelection marketing campaign.

In that very same yr, Granholm’s marketing campaign held a fundraiser on the Washington house of Vernon Jordan, who has been an govt for years at Lazard, an asset administration agency. Jordan has additionally been shut to former President Bill Clinton. The 2006 occasion raised over $35,000 for Granholm’s marketing campaign, data say.

Other large donors in 2005 and 2006 included Hollywood govt Ari Emanuel, then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Hyatt Hotels billionaire heiress and eventual Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, asset supervisor Steve Rattner, the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and the since-disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

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