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Leader Upton: Electric Vehicle Mandates Are Costly and Make America More Reliant on China


05.05.21

Washington, D.C. — Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton delivered opening remarks at Wednesday’s Energy Subcommittee hearing on electric vehicles mandates in the Democrats’ CLEAN Future Act.

Excerpts and highlights from his prepared remarks:

AMERICA ISN’T READY TO COMPLETELY SWITCH TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES

“The CLEAN Future Act contains billions of dollars in subsidies and mandates in an attempt to push electric vehicles on the American public, whether they are ready for them, or not.

I support reasonable fuel efficiency standards and am excited about the prospect of electric vehicles. I know our great domestic automakers in my home state of Michigan are hard at work to make cars that consumers will want to buy.

However, I have real concerns that the CLEAN Future Act puts the cart before the horse by mandating electric vehicles, because there is no consideration for American workers and car buyers, our growing reliance on China for critical minerals to make batteries, and the strain that electric vehicles will place on our grid.

As Members of this Committee already know, every summer California faces rolling blackouts, and just last winter Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana suffered prolonged power outages.

Today, electric vehicles account for less than 2% of the cars on the road. We are simply not ready to charge electric vehicles at scale or potentially during emergencies.

Instead, we should let the market and consumer choice drive the adoption of EVs.

THE CLEAN FUTURE ACT WILL HARM THE ENTIRE ECONOMY

While this hearing is focused on electric vehicles, we must also recognize that the CLEAN Future Act has sweeping impacts across 1,000 pages  that will result in de facto bans on hydraulic fracturing, plastics manufacturing, and new pipelines.

As a result, the CLEAN Future Act will increase the cost of energy and make it practically impossible to build new industrial facilities.

The big question is how are we supposed to build these electric vehicles here at home? And how would you replace all the plastic and hydrocarbon based materials contained in these vehicles? Are we going to continue importing all the critical minerals from China, with their weak environmental and labor standards? We simply cannot have it both ways.

THE SECURING CLEANER AMERICAN ENERGY AGENDA

House Republicans have introduced several bills as part of our Securing Cleaner American Energy Agenda to protect American jobs and the environment.

First, we need regulatory reform to mine and process critical minerals at home, so we can secure our supply chain and reduce our reliance upon China. Legislation that I introduced, H.R. 1599 Securing America’s Critical Minerals Supply Act, is an important step in this direction.

We need to modernize our electric grid so it can handle the charging  even in extreme weather conditions.

We also need to make sure we protect American jobs and consumer choice. The last thing we want to do is take away people’s mobility and livelihoods by limiting options of affordable and reliable vehicles.

The United States has become the world’s leading producer of oil and gas, thanks to free markets, competition, and the American spirit of innovation.

Thanks to more efficient engines, advanced materials and plastics, and less carbon intensive fuels, we are making great strides to decarbonize our transportation sector and maintain our energy security.

INSTEAD OF RUSHING TO MANDATES, RUSH TO DURABLE POLICIES

The COVID pandemic has already exposed many weaknesses in our supply chains for pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and even food.

I am afraid the CLEAN Future Act will trade away the progress we have made to become almost energy independent by increasing our reliance on China, which controls 80-90% of the critical minerals that go into EV batteries.

I am also concerned that the real impacts on American jobs and the needs of car buyers are being overlooked. I am pleased that two of our witnesses today  Dr. Michot Foss and Mr. Siccardi — will help us explore these challenges.

Rather than rushing new mandates and taxpayer subsidies, Congress must take the time and do the work to enact durable bipartisan policies.

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