Murkowski Questions DOE Secretary Nominee on Arctic Energy, Resource Jobs, Cybersecurity, Critical Minerals
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, took part in a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Jennifer M. Granholm, the former Governor of Michigan, to be the Secretary of Energy.
Murkowski opened the hearing by asking Governor Granholm for a commitment to advance energy security in the Arctic. Last year, Senator Murkowski secured funding to revive the Arctic Energy Office, which plays an essential role in supporting research and development for microgrids, new technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change in the Arctic, as well as to reduce the cost of energy in remote communities. She was also able to help the Cold Climate Housing Research Center establish a formal partnership with the nation’s national labs.
“What I would like from you publically this morning is your commitment to remaining engaged with these issues, ensuring that the Arctic Energy Office continues with its purpose, but also recognizing what the National Renewable Energy Lab has done in concert with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center and the partnership that comes with that to explore and understand cold climate technologies and maintain that energy security,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski highlighted the value of resource based jobs to the Alaskan and American economy. She emphasized that the recent executive orders from the Biden administration regarding oil and gas on federal lands has caused anxiety for Alaskans around the state who fear for their jobs and the state’s ability to generate revenue, particularly since the economy has been devastated by the pandemic.
“In certain parts of the country, we are very much your resource anchor. Whether it’s coal from West Virginia or Wyoming, or oil, gas, and coal from Alaska—certain states are America’s resource anchors,” Murkowski said. “Believe me, Alaskans want these clean energy jobs, just like all Americans do. We want to be able to access resources in a way that is environmentally responsible and that works toward reducing emissions. But, we also recognize that we still need access to the resources we have. And so for us in resource based states, I just hope that you hear the concern. It’s not that I want to keep us back in time. I want us to be able to move forward. Alaska is a state that’s seeing the daily impact of climate change, so we know we must be aggressive. But, we also know that as we move toward cleaner, more sustainable energy, we have to continue to provide the resources that Americans rely on.”
Murkowski raised the issue of American reliance on foreign supplies of critical minerals as a threat to our national and economic security.
“We all want to move to cleaner energy technologies, and one of the strong initiatives that came out of our energy bill last year, that was signed into law, was the effort that I led with Senator Manchin—the Mineral Security Act. This is significant going forward as we discuss the vulnerabilities of American security,” Murkowski said. “If we don’t have the minerals to build clean energy technology because we rely on China—if we rely on other countries that are, perhaps, not reliable friends—this places us in a vulnerable position.”
Murkowski closed out her questions by asking Governor Granholm to speak to the issue of grid resilience and cybersecurity, noting the recent SolarWind cyber hack and the imperative that we ensure grid resilience and security.