Barrasso: President Biden’s “Energy Transition” Obsession Will Move Us from Energy Independence to Energy and Mineral Dependence on China, Russia, and OPEC

October 19, 2023
Click here to watch ranking member Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing to examine the Department of Energy’s due diligence process for awarding competitive grants and loans funded through the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Department’s overall innovation investment strategy.

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable David W. Crane, Under Secretary for Infrastructure at the Department of Energy; Mr. Jigar H. Shah, Director of the Loan Programs Office at the Department of Energy; and the Honorable Teri L. Donaldson, Inspector General at the Department of Energy.

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Thanks so much Mr. Chairman.

“I want to join you in welcoming Senator Padilla to the committee given his degree in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We welcome both your participation and your expertise.

“Welcome to the committee. I look forward to working with you.

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today.

“Recent horrifying events provide a disturbing backdrop for today’s hearing.

“Hamas terrorists have viciously attacked Israel.

“Hamas committed atrocities against innocent civilians, including infants and children.

“People are sickened by what has occurred.

“There is reason to believe Iran helped plan and finance this evil attack on our ally.

“The risk of a wider regional war in the Middle East continues to grow.

“Meanwhile, Russia continues to wage its unprovoked war against Ukraine and as you might have seen Putin and Xi are together today.

“And China, at the same time, is growing more aggressive by the day as it pursues global domination.

“These are the consequences of weakness by our nation.

“They demonstrate that our energy policy needs to be about more than a blind allegiance

to tackling climate change.

“That’s what makes the laughably-named Inflation Reduction Act so dangerous.

“Let’s be clear: President Biden’s “energy transition” obsession is going to move us from energy independence to energy and mineral dependence on China and Russia and OPEC.

“That’s not the kind of “transition” Americans’ want or need.

“Today, I issued a report exposing how the inflationary IRA will make America weaker and

our adversaries stronger.

“Starting with its name, everything we’ve heard from Democrats about this disastrous bill is a lie.

“This partisan bill, truly a one-sided bill, will send America further in the red while enriching red China.

“It’s going to leave taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in new borrowing.

“And with a debt of $33 trillion – which is growing – we cannot afford that.

“President Biden has a terrible track record of protecting taxpayer money.

“As vice president, he personally announced, the award of a loan guarantee to the politically-connected solar company Solyndra.

“And Mr. Chairman, you made mention of that company in your opening remarks.

“We all know how that turned out: a $500 million bankruptcy, with taxpayers footing the bill.

“With the IRA, the American can expect to see more Solyndras.

“The recent revelation that the Department of Energy selected Chinese-connected companies, which you referenced Mr. Chairman, for financial awards, should should alarm every American.  

“But it shouldn’t surprise us.

“The White House said it welcomes Chinese companies as “big players” in renewable and electric vehicle markets.

“The administration has said it is “perfectly happy to work with [China]” on electric vehicles.

“And the IRA encourages more of this. It’s a terrible mistake.

“Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to strengthen China.

“It’s not just foolish awards that benefit China.

“This ill-conceived bill is going to push the United States away from the fuels and the technologies we dominate towards those that China and others control.

“And as your poster and map showed, Mr. Chairman, it points these things perfectly.

“Chinese companies have led wind turbine, solar panel, and battery production for many years. That is not changing.

“Now China is the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles.

“China also controls the supply chains of many of the critical minerals these technologies use.

“While the Biden Administration has been selecting Chinese companies for grant awards, it’s been working to block mining in the United States.

“Even if we could do more mining here in America, we would still need huge amounts of critical materials from China, Russia, and elsewhere to make the number of electric vehicles Joe Biden is demanding. It is not possible to do it otherwise.

“Contrast this future dependence with America’s recent global leadership in oil, natural gas, and coal production.

“President Biden and Congressional Democrats seem happy to surrender America’s energy advantage.

“And Mr. Chairman, you mention in your opening comments what we see happening now in Venezuela with allowing drilling there that we’re not allowing in the United States.

“And we do it much more safely, and with more respect for the environment than they ever will.

“So let’s be clear about what that means.

“It means more pleading with dictators like Russia and Iran and Venezuela as the administration just did yesterday.

“It means U.S. businesses and workers being held hostage to the whims of our enemies.

“It means stronger adversaries, weaker allies, and we do not need a pro-Iran and pro-China energy policy.

“It’s what were getting out of this administration.

“We need to return to a pro-America, “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

“That’s good for America, and for the free world.

“The stakes are too high Mr. Chairman.

“The IRA, to me, should stand for irresponsible, reckless, and alarming.

“It can’t be salvaged.

“It needs to be repealed.

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.”