tv White House Press Secretary Energy Secretary Hold Briefing CSPAN April 8, 2021 8:39pm-9:01pm EDT
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watch live coverage of the trial on c-span2, on my neck c-span.org, or listen live on the free c-span radio app. watch at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2 and any time on demand at c-span.org. announcer: also today, the energy secretary briefed reporters about the administration's clean energy agenda. >> hi, everyone. hey. we have another member of the president's jobs cabinet joining us today. secretary of energy, jennifer granholm. secretary granholm is just the second woman to lead the department of energy, where she will help america achieve president biden's goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. she'll do this by advancing cutting edge clean energy technologies, creating millions of good paying union, clean energy jobs, and building an equitable clean energy future.
secretary granholm was the first woman elected governor of michigan, serving two terms, from 2003 to 2011. as governor, she successfully led efforts to diversify the state's economy, strengthen its auto industry, preserve the manufacturing sector and add emerging sectors, such as clean energy to michigan's economic portfolio. today, one third of all north american electric vehicle battery production takes place in michigan. the state is one of the top five states for clean energy patents, and 126,000 michiganders were employed in the clean energy sector prior to covid-19. she also was the first woman elected attorney general of michigan and served as the state's top law enforcement officer from 1998 to 2002. as always, she can take a few questions. i'll be the bad cop. and with that, i'll turn it over to you. great, great. secretary granholm: i get to bring my binder, too, have a double binder stack here. thank you so much, jen. i really am privileged to be able to share the podium with
you today, and good afternoon, everybody. so, i think that president biden asked me to be the secretary of energy because i was the governor during a time when the auto industry was on its knees, and when auto workers were finding themselves out of work through no fault of their own. i feel like i've looked into the eyes of people who have been desperate and at a loss more times than i can count. and i was also governor when we invested to diversify michigan's economy to build car 2.0, which is the electric vehicle and the guts to that vehicle, the battery. and now here we are 12 years later, and general motors is saying that their entire fleet is going to be electrified. it is a huge distance that we've traveled. and so much of that is thanks to the decision by the federal government to invest in saving
the backbone of the manufacturing industry, which was, at that point, the vehicle industry. the obama-biden efforts really made a statement and worked. and so, we can do so much more than what we did in michigan. and this is what the american jobs plan is all about. i feel so happy for america that we have a president who wants to invest in our country, and in our workers, and in our manufacturing. and so to me, the fact that there is out there globally, a $23 trillion market for clean energy products, for products that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is a massive opportunity for this country. and you better believe that other countries are seeing that opportunity, as well. and our economic competitors are
working to corner the market on those opportunities. countries like china are pressing their foot on the pedal and revving up their electric engines. and they are thrilled to see that the united states is standing still, while they are working to create jobs for their people. after i was finished being governor, i traveled to china to see their clean energy efforts. it was with a group, and we went to a city, and i was standing next to the mayor of the city in china. and during a demonstration, he leaned over to me and he said, "so, when do you think the united states is going to get a clean energy plan?" and at this point, and this was several years ago, i said, "oh, i don't know. there's so much polarization. it's difficult in congress to get consensus." and he just looked at me and he smiled.
and he said, "take your time, take your time." because they saw our passivity as their opportunity. and it's not just in china, it's in other countries, too. understandably, countries want to corner this market on clean energy products, because we have 195 countries who have committed to lowering their greenhouse gas emissions. so the question is, where are those products going to be built and who are they going to be built by? and it's going to take a lot of work. literally, we need millions of people in the united states working to lower greenhouse gas emissions. and we all know that in the 21st century, making sure that we have the right infrastructure is critical. infrastructure is, yes, roads and bridges, but it is ports and airports, and it is trains. and it is the pipes that pump water into our homes. and it is the broadband that brings the world and learning to our children.
it's the broadband that brings economic opportunity to our businesses. of course, it's the electrical grid that keeps the lights on after what happened in texas. can anybody really doubt that electricity and the electric grid is part of the foundation of who we are as a nation? and we need to invest in it, if we want to make sure power keeps coming to our homes. there's an interesting poll that was done in february by consumers reports. and they found that 76% of americans think that broadband is as important as electricity and water. water. i mean, how can we not agree that broadband is infrastructure? and yet, we have been disinvesting in infrastructure as a nation for decades. in infrastructure, in research and development, and in
manufacturing, all of them, we have been disinvesting. and infrastructure, as you know, is now the smallest share of our economy since world war ii. we are at a 72-year low with respect to manufacturing. research and development has been dropping since the 1960's. china and our economic competitors are investing in research and development because they want to seize the future. they want to surpass the united states. and if we allow that to happen, we will be weaker as a nation, and we will fall, and we cannot do that. and that's what this american jobs plan is all about. so we can't just sit around saying, "we need to do this." it's bi-partisan. we know that republicans and democrats, it's a joke in washington. infrastructure week, democrats and republicans have been making that joke, but it's not a joke anymore. we need to get it done. and there is bi-partisan support
for these elements, these basic elements. so starting on an inauguration day, just to say a word about what doe, department of energy has been doing. we've been rolling out efforts to research and development, and deploy clean energy technologies, with an eye toward creating jobs. and if the american jobs plan passes, this will be able to be put on steroids. so in the past two weeks, just as an example, we made two announcements on research, one on research, and one on deployment of offshore wind. the research one was to cut the cost of solar by half yet again in the next 10 years. and on offshore wind, it was to add 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy on the atlantic seaboard. again, within 10 years. today, we are announcing another two funding opportunities for clean energy technology.
one of them is to create next generation biofuels for airplanes and ships, which are very hard to electrify. and the second is to announce clean energy technology, funding opportunity to reduce methane emissions from the coal, oil, and gas industry. and as many of you know, methane is an extremely potent and dangerous greenhouse gas. but these investments are really just a down payment on what we need to as a nation. and the american jobs project will take us the rest of the way. and i want to emphasize the -- because i've been meeting with so many stakeholders on this, the true importance of ensuring that 40% of the benefits of the american jobs plan go to communities that have been left behind or unseen, people who have been in the shadows of power plants, and whose children
have to gasp to breathe or use an inhaler. we need to remedy a moral wrong and make those investments. and the american jobs plan will allow us to do that. it's a once in a century investment to seize a once in a century opportunity. that's what the people elected joe biden to do, and we've waited far too long to do it. so we're going to get it done, and we're going to put america to work, and i'm happy to take any questions. zeke: thank you, secretary. if i can shift gears a little bit, one of the things in the president's infrastructure package was investments in nuclear, advanced nuclear development. one of the things i know you mentioned, you reiterated during your confirmation hearings, the president's opposition to funding for a nuclear fuel repository -- where does the biden administration plan to store the nation's radioactive nuclear fuel? and what's the ongoing process ? -- what's the ongoing process? secretary granholm: some of you may recall there was a
bipartisan commission on what to do about spent nuclear fuel. there has to be a consent based process to be able to do that. we are beginning that work inside of the department of energy. we have to find a solution, but it has to be based on community agreement. we'll make an announcement. we'll be making an announcement on that, not ready to say yet. zeke: and then just to change gears again, the last administration invested heavily in the nation's nuclear triad, into the development of new and improved nuclear weaponry. is the policy of this administration -- that development falls under your department to continue that and that rd that's expensive already? the modernization of the nation's arsenal. secretary granholm: we have to modernize the nation's nuclear arsenal. we have to keep and maintain the stockpile to make sure that it is safe and effective. and we will continue to do that, to ensure that we can deter nuclear aggression from other countries. so our nuclear deterrent is important, and it is embedded in
the values of that stockpile. and we will make sure that our people are safe. >> thank you so much. after you talk about the corporate tax rate and what they want to do with this infrastructure bill, can this infrastructure bills be -- this infrastructure bill be successful with a 25% corporate tax rate? secretary granholm: as the president has said, this is a negotiation. and he really does want to hear from democrats and republicans about what would be acceptable to get this across the line. there is room for negotiation, his point is that it has to be paid for. and so, if it's not a 28%, what else is it? and we're very encouraged by those who have been bringing ideas forth. and we are hopeful that especially when congress gets back next week, that those discussions can begin in earnest. >> thank you. you're one of the five cabinet secretaries that the president has tasked with engaging with congress on this. you mentioned the president's willing to negotiate. he says he's open to alternative
ways to pay for this, if republicans put forth any. in your conversations at all, have you heard any such alternatives from republican members? secretary granholm: i have. [laughter] yeah. i'm not going to make announcements for them. they obviously want to bring forth their own ideas, but i have heard alternatives. yes. >> and the president also asked you to help engage the public in selling this plan. you haven't hit the road yet, though. is that something that you plan to do in the coming weeks? secretary granholm: well, we're going to be taking our guidance from the white house in terms of what's safe, et cetera. we've certainly been hitting the zoom and making our case through that and the phones. so, we'll see how it goes. there is a period of time that we have to be able to do this, but we want to make sure that it's safe. >> yeah. in terms of the negotiations, the discussions with congress, is there a deadline, is there a timeframe where this turns into a pumpkin, or you just go it alone? secretary granholm: i mean, i
don't know if you want to answer that, jen. i mean, i know that they said that they would like to see progress by memorial day, and hopefully we can start to see that, but obviously those meetings have to begin in earnest next week. secretary psaki: francesca? francesca: thank you. what do you say to americans working in the oil and gas industry in california and elsewhere, who say that these have been good paying jobs that have given them access to the middle class? and what, if anything, can the federal government do to ensure that these clean energy jobs like the ones that you described are as good as the ones that they'll be replacing? secretary granholm: this is a great question. and this is why the american jobs plan is very specifically targeting communities in coal and power plant areas, in gas and natural gas. there are billions of dollars in this bill for the technologies that will reduce co2 emissions in those industries. for example, carbon capture use
and sequestration. i don't mean to get too technical, but hydrogen deployment and demonstration projects. i've been talking with my counterparts around the world. there is a huge appetite for a partnership with america on these next generation technologies that will reduce co2 emissions from that kind of baseline power. those jobs in those kinds of technologies are good paying jobs. those jobs that are going to be for welders and sheet metal workers and all of the trades. and we're going to, as we put out funding opportunities, ensure that there are project labor agreements that the people who are working in them are paid, under davis-bacon, are paid prevailing wage. so we want to create good paying jobs all across the country. and there will be millions of them, if this is passed. the opportunities, this is why we've been having a huge number of discussions with our brothers and sisters in the labor movement, in the building
trades, to make sure that we do this in a way that gives their workers opportunity and it will. and that's why they're supportive of it. secretary psaki: steve? steve: you mentioned the next generation biofuels for airplanes and ships. when should we would expect something like that to come online? so you'll see planes flying on biofuel. secretary granholm: yeah, well, it's going to take -- i mean, obviously, we got to get started on it, and this is a research opportunity. it is not a deployment opportunity, but because funding opportunities really accelerate so much appetite for the technology, and because there have been a lot of breakthroughs, in fact -- the airline industry itself has been investing in next generation biofuels to be able to demonstrate that it can be used. so without saying specifically, i think certainly within five to ten years, we will be able to see this deployed and available for both shipping and for air.
>> last question, nancy. nancy: thank you. i'm wondering -- you're talking about how the american jobs plan could create good jobs. i'm wondering what levers that the federal government has to ensure that those jobs will be at a certain wage scale or have benefits. what can you do to enforce that? secretary granholm: yeah. i mean, as we know, the federal government has many mechanisms for pushing out funding. and that includes bidding on projects, and that includes passing it through in competitions, et cetera. in those opportunities, you can attach strings to make sure that these are good-paying jobs, that they have project labor agreements, et cetera. and so, i know -- and it is true with respect to the federal government's buying power as well, its procurement power. we want to make sure that we create good-paying jobs for all kinds of people in every pocket of america, and that means good-paying union jobs. so we're going to use every lever possible to be able to do
that, including if you want to bid on this, you've got to make sure that you have a project labor agreement. nancy: thank you, secretary granholm. secretary granholm: all right. thank you. appreciate it. good luck. secretary psaki: thank you so >> tv on c-span2 has top authors every weekend. saturday at 8 p.m. eastern, jamaal grain looks at america's approach to individual rights. saturday at 9 p.m. eastern from bowling state -- owing green state university talks about free speech. in the book why it's ok to speak your mind. sunday, at 9 p.m. eastern, its everyday's a gift, a memoir by tammy duckworth. she talks about her life and
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