Jennifer Granholm will be the next secretary of energy after the Senate confirmed her by a wide, bipartisan margin to lead the Department of Energy and the almost $30-billion-a-year worth of nuclear weapons and waste programs that make up more than half the agency’s budget.
Senators voted to confirm the former Michigan governor 64-35, with one senator not voting. Granholm was scheduled to be sworn in at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time Thursday, a DoE spokesperson said. Of the 22 Senators who represent states with significant DoE nuclear weapons or nuclear waste-cleanup sites, eight — about one in three — voted against Granholm.
The nay votes, in alphabetical order by state, were:
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) – Paducah Site, DoE Office of Environmental Management (cleanup).
- Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) – Savannah River Site, DoE Office of Environmental Management (cleanup), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) (weapons).
- Sen. Timothy Scott (R-S.C.).
- Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) – Oak Ridge Site, DoE Office of Environmental Management (cleanup), Y-12 National Security Complex, NNSA (weapons).
- Sen. William Hagerty (R-Tenn.).
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) – Pantex Plant, Amarillo, Texas, NNSA (weapons).
- Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz (R-Texas).
- Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) – Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project, DOE Office of Environmental Management (cleanup).
The NNSA, which is semiautonomous from DoE in that the sub-agency’s administrator is the only person in the organization who reports to the secretary of energy, owns, maintains, refurbishes and modernizes U.S. nuclear warheads and bombs.
Meanwhile, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee could hold a nomination hearing for Granholm’s deputy-designate, David Turk, an official with DoE’s Office of Environmental Management said this week.
Mark Gilbertson, the Environmental Management office’s associate principal deputy assistant secretary, said Wednesday he understands the committee will likely hold a confirmation hearing for Turk during the first half of March. Gilbertson spoke during an Energy Communities Alliance webinar. The committee had not scheduled a hearing at deadline.
Turk worked in the Barack Obama administration’s DoE and Department of State and is currently deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
At deadline, President Joe Biden had yet to nominate anyone to lead either the NNSA or the Office of Environmental Management. It took the Donald Trump administration about a year to fill those positions, once it got its first secretary of energy confirmed.