Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (D), Biden’s pick to lead the Energy Department, weighed in Wednesday on the nation’s electric grid as extreme winter weather continued to pummel parts of the nation, leaving millions without power.
She called for an “upgrade” to “our grid infrastructure ASAP.”
“One thing is certain: America’s electricity grid is simply not able to handle extreme weather events,” Granholm tweeted.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 13 to 4 this month to advance Granholm’s nomination to the full Senate.
Biden approved an emergency declaration for Texas over the weekend, and Tuesday evening he held a call with governors of affected states, including Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
According to a readout of the call released by the White House, the president said he “understood the severity of the conditions being felt across the states.”
Biden also told the state leaders that his administration is prepared to assist and respond to requests for federal resources.
Earlier Wednesday, on NBC’s “Today” show, Vice President Harris spoke directly to people affected by the storms.
“I just want to mention all those folks in Texas and the Mid-Atlantic. I know they can’t see us right now because they’re without electricity, but the president and I are thinking of them and really hope we can do everything that is possible through the signing of the emergency orders to get federal relief to support them,” she said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, asked Tuesday whether the administration is considering actions to address nation’s power grid, said the current focus is disaster response.
“I think our focus right now is ensuring that the millions of people across Texas who are impacted by the storm get the relief they need,” Psaki said during Tuesday’s briefing. “Clearly, as there are investments in the future in forms of energy, I should say, across the country, they’ll need to plan for inclement weather. But I think that’s a discussion and conversations a little bit down the road.”
Former energy secretary Rick Perry has suggested that residents are prepared to go without power to keep federal regulators out of the state’s power grid.
“Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Perry said, according to a quote shared on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) website. “Try not to let whatever the crisis of the day is take your eye off of having a resilient grid that keeps America safe personally, economically, and strategically.”