As for the future of coal, Granholm says coal is losing out to natural gas and other fuel sources.By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This region has often been called the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.

What’s the future of natural gas and other fossil fuels under the Biden administration? In an interview seen only on KDKA, political editor Jon Delano spoke with the new U.S. secretary of energy for some answers.

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Five weeks ago, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm was confirmed with a bipartisan vote as secretary of energy. Granholm says she is no stranger to Pittsburgh and knows how dependent this region is on natural gas to heat homes and buildings.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Delano: Is there a future for fossil fuels here in Pennsylvania?

Granholm: There is a future for fossil fuels and let me tell you why. The Department of Energy and other entities is doing research on how to control carbon, carbon dioxide management.

Granholm says research is finding ways to use fossil fuels cleanly while moving to other forms of energy.

“We want to make sure that those solutions are able to help this transition and keep people employed,” says Granholm.

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But then there’s fracking.

Delano: A lot of people still wonder about the safety of fracking and wonder whether or not it can continue to exist. What’s the energy secretary’s view on fracking?

Granholm: I think it can be done safely, but we’ve got to make sure that technology is available to make sure that it is safe.

As for the future of coal, Granholm says coal is losing out to natural gas and other fuel sources.

“The global market is making the decision about coal. There is a decision globally to turn away from coal and without any policy, you are seeing that happen,” Granholm said.

That’s where President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan comes in with money to help transition coal jobs to good-paying alternatives.

“We shouldn’t be buying wind turbines from Denmark. We should be making them here,” Granholm said. “We shouldn’t be buying solar panels from countries like China that have human rights violations. We should be making them here.”

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“Nobody knows better than Pittsburgh, a community that has had to transition before, how important it is to keep your eye on the future even as you want to protect people who are going through this transition,” Granholm added.