The House Oversight and Accountability Committee is seeking answers and information from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm about her electric vehicle (EV) road trip earlier this summer, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Tuesday letter, signed by Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky, requested that Granholm and the Department of Energy (DOE) provide a summary of all the vehicles involved in the trip, itineraries, internal and external communications and any potential information about the cost of the trip to taxpayers, according to the letter’s text. Granholm went on the four-day EV road trip through the Southeast this summer to promote EVs and their role in President Joe Biden’s wider push to simultaneously reinvigorate American manufacturing and fight climate change, but her trip ran into several different problems that NPR detailed earlier in September.
“We are alarmed by recent reports of your four-day summer 2023 electric vehicle road trip apparently intended to showcase the Biden administration’s progress in achieving a radical green agenda,” the letter states. “Yet at every point in this journey, you relied upon [internal combustion engine] vehicles using gasoline to try to boost the charade of the effectiveness of green energy,” the letter continues. (RELATED: ‘Litany Of Abuses Of Public Trust’: Watchdogs Call For Key Biden Admin Official To Resign)
The letter references charging difficulties Granholm encountered in her Cadillac EV, as well as a situation in which DOE staffers raced ahead of the convoy to reserve a spot at a charging station by parking a gas-powered vehicle as a placeholder until Granholm showed up. That decision angered a local family with a crying baby that was seeking to charge their EV before the convoy arrived, and the DOE staffer’s initial refusal to move eventually prompted the family to call the police to mediate the dispute.
In addition to documents about costs to taxpayers and estimates for emissions generated by the trip, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee also requested that DOE turn over any communications with the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality and any non-governmental organizations which may have been in contact with the DOE about the trip. The letter also ordered the DOE to hold a staff-level briefing on the request no later than Oct. 3.
“For over a decade, while our global competitors geared up for the clean energy transition, America lagged behind,” a DOE spokesperson told the DCNF. “Now, with President Biden’s historic Investing in America agenda we have over $7 billion to build out convenient and reliable EV charging infrastructure, a portion of which is already awarded to every state, D.C. and Puerto Rico,” the spokesperson continued, adding that “the private sector is following suit with equally ambitious investments – growing our workforce and keeping money in the pockets of hardworking Americans.”
The Biden administration is aiming to have EVs make up 50% of all new vehicle sales in 2030, according to the White House, and it has both regulated and spent considerable sums of money to facilitate that goal.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new tailpipe emissions standards in April that would effectively require manufacturers to have their new light duty vehicle fleets be about 67% EVs by model year 2032, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed updates to its fuel economy standards that amount to an “EV mandate,” Dan Kish, senior fellow for the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation at the time. The DOE announced in August that it will make billions of taxpayer dollars available for American automobile manufacturers to retrofit their plants for EV production.
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
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