Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm

Michigan's Governor Moves Energy into Labor Department's Role

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed an executive order Oct. 27 that will move all state government activities related to renewable energy and energy efficiency into the Department of Labor and Economic Growth. The department will be named the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, and its director will be designated the state's chief energy officer -- an important post because Michigan hopes to nurture a big energy sector to provide jobs being lost by its auto industry.

Granholm said she is appointing her special advisor on renewable energy, Stanley "Skip" Pruss, to the post. He replaces Keith Cooley as department chief; Cooley has accepted a position as CEO of NextEnergy in Detroit, the governor's office said.

Granholm herself may be in another post soon. Some political observers say she is one of several candidates who could be chosen as the next U.S. Department of Labor secretary by Barack Obama if he wins today's presidential election.

Granholm's Executive Order 2008-20 will take effect Dec. 28 unless it is rejected by the state Senate and House of Representatives. "The new energy economy is, singularly, Michigan's greatest opportunity to create thousands of new jobs, attract new investment, and diversify our economy," Granholm said Oct. 27. "By consolidating the state's energy efforts, we will create an efficient alignment of all the state's tools and resources to focus with laser-like precision on leading the nation in the new evolving energy sectors." The reorganization includes the No Worker Left Behind green jobs training initiatives; Michigan's new energy efficiency building code; the Public Service Commission and energy efficiency programs; the Office of Sustainability; the Renewable Fuels Commission; and the State Energy Office. Granholm said the reorganization and the partnership with NextEnergy will allow Michigan to build relationships with the private sector and state universities and community colleges, coordinate efforts across state government, and create new opportunities for R&D centers.

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