By LSN Partners on February 1, 2023
This Tuesday, in its first hearing of the 118th Congress, the House Energy & Commerce Committee held a wide-ranging discussion on the future of America’s energy outlook. On the Republican side, this was the first opportunity to begin oversight of the Inflation Reduction Act and the clean energy programs it created while advocating for alternative energy sources such as nuclear power and a re-expansion of fossil fuels. On the Democratic side, legislators largely defended the clean energy programs created in the IRA and pushed back against suggestions to expand fossil fuel production. Furthermore, there was bipartisan concern regarding China’s dominance in the clean energy space, specifically its links to domestic EV companies.
- Republicans on the committee cast doubt on the reliability of renewable energy technologies funded in the Inflation Reduction Act
- “I worry that solar and wind will not cut it,” said Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan)
- Larry Bucshon (R-Indiana) said he opposes federal funding for electric-vehicle infrastructure: “Why should we be doing that?”
- Indiana’s home state Governor, Eric Holcomb, a Republican, helped start a regional EV charging network in the Midwest and went to climate talks in Egypt in November to pitch Indiana as a spot for automobile investment.
- Republicans said they would use their new majority to aid the expansion of oil and gas production, build pipelines, and expand nuclear technology over the next two years.
- Republicans said gas should be a widespread fuel source for heating and pledged to pursue policies to bolster its use.
- “Global Demand is booming,” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), Chairman of the newly named Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals Subcommittee, said of gas: “We should want the world to rely more on us for natural gas, not the other way around.”
- Legislators on both sides of the aisle asked questions exploring the links between electric-vehicle companies, American automakers, and the Chinese government, which have become a major point of contention in Congress.
- For example, Governor Glenn Youngkin blocked a potential project between Ford Motor Co. and a Chinese-tied firm in the State of Virginia.
- The majority’s witness, Paul Dabbar, a former Energy Department official during the Trump administration, referenced Senator Joe Manchin’s energy permitting proposal from the 117th Congress, saying that Congress should press federal agencies, like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, to speed up permitting of energy projects.
You can view the hearing, read the opening statements as well as the Energy & Commerce Committee preparation memo at this link.