Merkley, Colleagues Sound Alarm on Climate Crisis in Letter Requesting Appropriated Funds to Support President Biden’s Use of the Defense Production Act

Merkley, Colleagues Sound Alarm on Climate Crisis in Letter Requesting Appropriated Funds to Support President Biden’s Use of the Defense Production Act

As President Biden stated, a lack of domestic renewable energy manufacturing denies “consumers access to cost-cutting clean energy options, add(s) risks to our power grid, and stall(s) domestic clean energy construction projects that are critical to tackling the climate crisis.”

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley led 19 colleagues in a letter to Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee Chair, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), requesting the committee support President Biden’s use of the Defense Production Act to strengthen the U.S. solar panel supply chain by including funding to the maximum extent possible in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

Joining Senator Merkley’s letter are Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

“Manufacturing the components and building the supply chains to power the transition to a clean energy economy will protect America’s national security, including averting the worst impacts of the climate crisis, while creating thousands of high-quality manufacturing jobs here in the United States,” wrote the lawmakers. “As the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent recovery have demonstrated, depending on foreign supplies chains for essential goods threatens America’s economic and national security. Issuing these Presidential Determinations to “accelerate domestic production of clean energy technologies” is an important step towards achieving this future. The House FY 2023 Energy and Water appropriations bill proposes a significant, $100 million, investment to meet this need.”

Senator Merkley has been a longtime advocate for sourcing renewable energy domestically and ending U.S. dependence on foreign supply chains to strengthen and secure our national security. Without domestic renewable energy manufacturing, consumers are denied access to cost-effective, clean energy options. Depending on foreign manufacturers adds risks to power grids and slows the progress of domestic clean energy projects—projects that are critical to tackling climate chaos.

“With these Presidential Determinations, President Biden provided the Department of Energy (DOE) with the authority to use the DPA to accelerate domestic production of key energy technologies including: solar; transformers and grid components; heat pumps; insulation; electrolyzers; fuel cells; and platinum group metals,” the lawmakers continued.

Full text of the letter can be found here and follows below:

Dear Chair Feinstein,

We respectfully request that you support Presidential Determinations 2022-15 through 19, issued pursuant to Section 303 of the Defense Production Act (DPA), by including funding to the maximum extent possible in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

Manufacturing the components and building the supply chains to power the transition to a clean energy economy will protect America’s national security, including averting the worst impacts of the climate crisis, while creating thousands of high-quality manufacturing jobs here in the United States. As the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent recovery have demonstrated, depending on foreign supplies chains for essential goods threatens America’s economic and national security. Issuing these Presidential Determinations to “accelerate domestic production of clean energy technologies” is an important step towards achieving this future. The House FY 2023 Energy and Water appropriations bill proposes a significant, $100 million, investment to meet this need.

As President Biden stated, a lack of domestic renewable energy manufacturing denies “consumers access to cost-cutting clean energy options, add(s) risks to our power grid, and stall(s) domestic clean energy construction projects that are critical to tackling the climate crisis.” With these Presidential Determinations, President Biden provided the Department of Energy (DOE) with the authority to use the DPA to accelerate domestic production of key energy technologies including: solar; transformers and grid components; heat pumps; insulation; electrolyzers; fuel cells; and platinum group metals.

Not long ago the United States was the global leader in solar manufacturing but we have allowed China, which is investing heavily in its own manufacturing, to corner the market for solar modules and supply chain components. This has reduced American manufacturing capacity far below domestic solar demand, forcing us to rely on China for our solar needs, even as it is well documented that China is using unfair trade practices, including forced labor in parts of the country. The DPA can help American companies re-establish themselves as leaders in solar manufacturing, and other technologies, essential to the transition to clean energy but only if Congress provides DOE with adequate funds to utilize it.

We urge you to support President Biden’s Presidential Determinations by appropriating funds to the maximum extent possible in the FY 2023 Energy and Water Appropriations bill so that DOE can effectively utilize the authorities that have been delegated to it under the DPA.

Sincerely,

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