President Biden's nominee for energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, admitted Wednesday during her confirmation hearing that some jobs in the oil and gas industry may be "sacrificed" as a part the administration's climate agenda.
The exchange began when Republican Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, noted that tens of thousands of jobs could be lost in states like New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado if Biden's new executive order pausing oil and gas leases on federal land is extended.
"A long-term ban on oil and gas leasing would cost about 62,000 jobs in New Mexico ... about 33,000 jobs in Wyoming, and about 18,000 jobs in Colorado," Barrasso assessed, before directing the question at Granholm.
"I'm just curious how a long-term ban consistent with the president's goal of unifying our country and putting Americans back to work and helping our economies grow, how is that all consistent?" he said.
In response, Granholm stated, "I think the president's plan of building back better would create more jobs in energy, clean energy, than the jobs that might be sacrificed."
Then, as if she suddenly realized she had admitted something she shouldn't have, Granholm demurred, adding, "But I will say this, no job — we don't want to see any jobs sacrificed."
Biden Energy Sec Nom Granholm: “Jobs That Might Be Sacrificed" W/ Biden's Federal Lands Fracking Ban www.youtube.com
The energy secretary nominee then further addressed the contract pause on public lands by saying, "For those states that have these jobs in abundance is something we're going to have to work on together to ensure that people remain employed."
Later in the hearing, Granholm made sure to express sympathies to those workers who may find themselves out of jobs due the climate-conscious goals of the Biden administration.
"I totally get the concern about job losses. Totally," she said.
Her comments were certainly not out of line with what other Biden administration officials have been saying in recent days.
When pressed on the issue during a press conference Wednesday, Biden's climate envoy John Kerry assured that oil and gas workers displaced from their jobs over the next four years would have "better choices" ahead of them — like making solar panels.
Biden's transportation secretary nominee, Pete Buttigieg, echoed a similar sentiment during his confirmation hearing, saying he and the administration "are very eager to see those workers continue to be employed in good-paying union jobs, even if they might be different ones."