Federal EV tax credit: unnecessary, inefficient, unpopular, costly, and unfair

In April, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Drive America Forward Act, a bill that would expand the tax credit for new plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) by allowing an additional 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer to be eligible for a credit of up to $7,000. Currently, the tax credit is worth up to$7,500 until a manufacturer sells more than 200,000 vehicles. In late September, groups that stand to benefit from the extension of the federal tax credits wrote to Senator McConnell and other leaders in Congress, encouraging them to support on the Drive America Forward Act. As IER has documented in the past, lawmakers should not extend the EV tax credit as the policy is unnecessary, inefficient, unpopular, costly, and unfair.

Unnecessary and inefficient

The EV tax credit is not necessary to support an electric vehicle market in the U.S. as one group estimates that 70 percent of EV owners would have purchased their vehicle without receiving a subsidy, which is reasonable seeing as 78 percent of credits go to households making more than $100,000 a year.  Furthermore, the federal tax credit overlaps with a number of other government privileges for EVs, including:

  • State rebates and/or other favors (reduced registration fees, carpool-lane access, etc.) in California, as well as in 44 other states and the District of Columbia.
  • Tax credits for infrastructure investment, a federal program that began in 2005 and, after six extensions, expired in 2017.
  • Federal R&D for “sustainable transportation,” mainly to reduce battery costs, averaging almost $700 million per year.
  • Credit for EV sales for automakers to meet their corporate fuel economy (CAFE) obligations.
  • Mandates in California and a dozen other states for automakers to sell Zero-Emission Vehicles—a quota in addition to subsidies.

Even if the federal tax credits were needed to support demand for EVs, the extension of the tax credit would be an absurdly inefficient means of achieving the stated goal of the policy, which is ostensibly to lower carbon emissions. The Manhattan Institute found that electric vehicles will reduce energy-related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by less than 1 percent by 2050.


Lawmakers should be aware that the vast majority of people do not support subsidizing electric vehicle purchases. The American Energy Alliance recently released the results of surveys that examine the sentiments of likely voters about tax credits for electric vehicles. The surveys were administered to 800 likely voters statewide in each of three states (ME, MI and ND). The margin of error for the results in each state is 3.5 percent.

The findings include:

  • Voters don’t think they should pay for other people’s car purchases. In every state, overwhelming majorities (70 percent or more) said that while electric cars might be a good choice for some, those purchases should not be paid for by other consumers.
  • As always, few voters (less than 1/5 in all three states) trust the federal government to make decisions about what kinds of cars should be subsidized or mandated.
  • Voters’ sentiments about paying for others’ electric vehicles are especially sharp when they learn that those who purchase electric vehicles are, for the most part, wealthy and/or from California.
  • There is almost no willingness to pay for electric vehicle car purchases. When asked how much they would be willing to pay each year to support the purchase of electric vehicles by other consumers, the most popular answer in each state (by 70 percent or more) was “nothing.”

The full details of the survey can be found here.

Costly and unfair

Most importantly, an extension of the federal EV tax credit is unfair as the policy concentrates and directs benefits to wealthy individuals that are predominantly located in one geographic area, namely California. A breakdown of each state’s share of the EV tax credit is displayed in the map below:

In 2018, over 46 percent of new electric vehicle sales were made in California alone. Given that California represents only about 12 percent of the U.S. car market, this disparity means that the other 49 states are subsidizing expensive cars for Californians.  However, in order to understand the full extent of the benefits that people in California are receiving, some further explanation is in order.

When governments enact tax credit programs that favor special businesses without reducing spending, the overall impact is parallel to a direct subsidy as the costs of covering the tax liability shift to the American taxpayer or are subsumed in the national debt (future taxpayers). California offers a number of additional incentives on top of the federal tax credit for electric vehicles that are also driving demand for EVs in the state. These incentives include an additional purchase rebate of up to $7,000 through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, privileged access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and significant public spending on the infrastructure needed to support EVs. Therefore, the additional incentives that California (and other states) offer to promote EVs have broader impacts as these policies incentivize more people to make use of the federal tax credit, passing their costs on to American taxpayers. In other words, you’re not avoiding the costs of California’s EV policies by not living in California.

This problem is made even worse when we consider the impact of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulations, which require manufacturers to offer for sale specific numbers of zero-emission vehicles. As recently as 2017, auto producers have been producing EVs at a loss in order to meet these standards, and they have been passing the costs on to their other consumers. This was made apparent in 2015 by Bob Lutz, the former Executive Vice President of Chrysler and former Vice-Chairman of GM, said:

“I don’t know if anybody noticed, but full-size sport-utilities used to be — just a few years ago used to be $42,000, all in, fully equipped. You can’t touch a Chevy Tahoe for under about $65,000 now. Yukons are in the $70,000. The Escalade comfortably hits $100,000. Three or four years ago they were about $60,000. What this is, is companies trying to recover what they’re losing at the other end with what I call compliance vehicles, which are Chevy Volts, Bolts, plug-in Cadillacs and fuel cell vehicles.”

Fiat Chrysler paid $600 million for ZEV compliance credits in 2015 (plus an unknown amount of losses on their EV sales), and sold 2.2 million vehicles, indicating Fiat Chrysler internal combustion engine (ICE) buyers paid a hidden tax of approximately $272 per vehicle to subsidize wealthy EV byers. ICE buyers were 99.3 percent of U.S. vehicle purchases in 2015. So, even if half the credits purchased were for hybrids, each EV sold in 2015 was subsidized by more than $13,000 in ZEV credit sales, in addition to all of the other federal, state, and local subsidies.

As is typical with most policies that benefit a politically privileged group, the plan to extend the federal tax credit program comes with tremendous costs, which are likely being compounded by people abusing the policy.  One estimate found that the overall costs of the Drive America Forward Act would be roughly $15.7 billion over 10 years and would range from $23,000 to $33,900 for each additional EV purchase under the expanded tax credit. Seeing as the costs of monitoring and enforcing the eligibility requirements of the EV tax credit program are not zero, it should surprise no one that the program has been abused as it has recently come to light that thousands of auto buyers may have improperly claimed more than $70 million in tax credits for purchases of new plug-in EVs. Finally, additional concerns arise over the equity of the federal EV tax credit due to the fact that half of EV tax credits are claimed by corporations, not individuals

End this charade

When the tax credit was first adopted, politicians assured us that the purpose of the program was to help launch the EV market in the U.S. and that the tax credit would remain capped at the current limit of 200,000 vehicles. At that time, we warned that once this program was in place, politicians would continue to extend the cap in order to appease the demands of manufacturers and other political constituencies that were created by the program. A decade later, we find ourselves in that exact situation. At this point, it should be clear that Congress should not expand the federal EV tax credit as the program is nothing more than an extension of special privileges to wealthy individuals and corporations that are mostly located in California. If Congress can’t find the courage to put an end to such an unfair and inefficient policy, President Trump should not hesitate to veto any legislation that extends the federal EV tax credit, as doing so would be consistent with his approach to other energy issues such as CAFE reform.

AEA to Senate: Highway Bill is Highway Robbery

WASHINGTON DC (July 30, 2019) – Today, Thomas Pyle, President of the American Energy Alliance, issued a letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso highlighting concerns about the recently introduced America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act. Included in the legislation is an unjustified, $1 billion handout to special interests in the form of charging stations for electric vehicles.  AEA maintains that provisions like this are nearly impossible to reverse in the future and create a regressive, unnecessary, and duplicative giveaway program to the wealthiest vehicle owners in the United States. 
Read the text of the letter below:

Chairman Barrasso,

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is scheduled to consider the reauthorization of the highway bill and the Highway Trust Fund today.  At least some part of this consideration will include provisions that provide for $1 billion in federal grants for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.  This is among $10 billion in new spending included in a “climate change” subtitle.  All of this new spending is to be siphoned away from the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), meant to provide funding for the construction and maintenance of our nation’s roads and bridges.  The HTF already consistently runs out of money, a situation that will only be exacerbated by these new spending programs.

We oppose this new federal program for EV infrastructure for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to the following:

  • The grant program, once established in the HTF, will never be removed.  Our experience with other, non-highway spending in the trust fund (transit, bicycles, etc.) is that once it is given access to the trust fund, the access is never revoked.  Our nation’s highway infrastructure already rates poorly in significant part due to the diversion of highway funds to non-highway spending.
  • As we have noted elsewhere, federal support for electric vehicles provides economic advantages to upper income individuals at the expense of those in middle and lower income quintiles.  This grant program would exacerbate that problem.
  • This program will result in taxpayers in States with few electric vehicles or little desire for electric vehicles having their tax dollars redirected from the roads they actually use to subsidize electric vehicle owners in States like California and New York.
  • This program is duplicative.  There is already a loan program within DOE that allows companies and States to get taxpayer dollars to subsidize wealthy electric vehicle owners.

For these and other reasons, we oppose the provisions that would create a regressive, unnecessary, and duplicative giveaway program to wealthy, mostly coastal electric vehicle owners.  This giveaway not only redirects taxpayer money from the many States to the few, in looting the Highway Trust Fund it also leaves those many States, including Wyoming, with less money to maintain their own extensive road networks.


Thomas J. Pyle

New Survey, Same Results: Voters Prefer Affordable Energy over Climate Agenda

The American Energy Alliance and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity recently completed a nationwide survey of 1000 likely voters (3.1% margin of error) executed in the first two weeks of May.  A full slide deck of the results can be found here.  

As Mike McKenna of MWR Strategies notes, there are a few salient points worth noting.

First, and probably most pointedly, Republicans continue to be on solid ground with respect to who should make decisions about (and who should pay for) car and truck purchases, on carbon dioxide taxes, on willingness to pay to address climate change, on issue prioritization, and even on the fundamentals of the science (by a margin of 19 points respondents identified carbon dioxide as “needed for plant life” rather than a “pollutant”).

Second, voter sentiment and attitudes on energy and climate change seem to be characterized by stasis; despite what you may have read in the media, there has been little change in voter sentiments and attitudes with respect to energy and climate change.  Many of the responses in the survey are either consistent with or more emphatic than what we have found previously.

Where there has been change from past surveys, voter sentiment in favor of government making decisions, in favor of taxation, in favor of banning gasoline-powered products, and in favor of reliance on China, has eroded over time.

For example, when we asked whether a federal EV mandate would cause electricity prices to increase or decrease, 81% of respondents said that it would cause them to increase.  Last year, 74% said it would cause them to increase.  The year before, 69% said it would cause them to increase.

We asked about levels of concern about China’s domination of the EV supply chain.  This year, 64% were very concerned.  Last year, 56% were very concerned.  The year before 43% were very concerned.

We asked about a tax on carbon dioxide.  This year, by a margin of 44 percentage points (65-21).  Last year, it was opposed by a margin of 40 points (63-23).  The year before, it was opposed by 34 points (62-38).

We asked about whether the federal government should raise energy taxes as a potential response to climate change.  This year, respondents opposed by a margin of 63 points (77-14).  Last year, respondents opposed it by a margin of 55 points (70-15).  The year before, respondents opposed it by a margin of 38 points (59-21).

We asked about banning gasoline-powered vehicles.  This year, it was opposed by a margin of 67 points (82-15).  Last year, it was opposed by a margin of 63 points (76-13).  The year before, it was opposed by a margin of 66 points (75-9).

In short, there has been a lot of durability of sentiment on this issue, and where there has been change, it has run counter to the policy preferences of the left.

Third, voters don’t seem to care much about climate change and their willingness to pay anything to address has dissolved in the last year.

As we have seen across a number of years, climate change is not a priority for most.  Just 28 respondents (2.8%) identified it as the most pressing issue facing the United States, and just 29 more (2.9%) identified it as the second most pressing issue facing the United States.  Compare this to the 55% that identified the economy as either the first or second most important issue facing the United States.

Given that, it is not surprising that there continues to be limited appetite to pay to address climate change.   When asked what they would be willing to pay each year to address climate change, the median response was 20 dollars, and 35% (including 15% of self-identified Democrats) said they are unwilling to pay anything.  There has been some rapid erosion in these responses:  last year, the median response was 55 dollars.

Given the concerns about the economy and the general disinterest in climate change as an issue, it is not surprising that voters don’t really want the government to do much.  Voters don’t want a carbon dioxide tax (rejected by 44 points).  They don’t want to ban gasoline-powered engines (rejected by 72 points, compared to being rejected by just 63 points last year).  Voters – including 58% of self-identified Democrats — flat out reject electric vehicle mandates (77-23).

Finally, voters don’t trust government very much.  More than two-thirds (70%) said that they did not trust the federal government to decide what kind of cars should be subsidized or mandated.  An even greater percentage (80% this year, up from 70% last year) said they wanted to make the decision about the cars and fuels they buy, rather than the State government (4%) or federal government (8%).  No one wants California to be in charge of that decision:  82% of respondents (including 72% of self-identified Democrats) disagreed with the statement:  “The State of California should be able to determine what kinds of cars can be sold in other States.”

New Survey, Same Results: Voters Prefer Affordable Energy over Climate Agenda

Voters reject policies, like carbon taxes, that make energy more expensive and believe consumers, not government, should decide what types of cars people can buy.

WASHINGTON DC (06/01/2023) – The American Energy Alliance and the Committee to Unleash Prosperity recently sponsored a nationwide survey of 1000 likely voters (3.1 percent margin of error) conducted by MWR Strategies in the first two weeks of May. The survey can be found here (slide deck) and here (written results).

AEA President Thomas Pyle issued the following statement:

The results of our new survey make it clear that voters prefer energy affordability and choice over government efforts to address climate change and they overwhelmingly reject the associated costs.

Despite the narrative driven by the legacy media, there has been little change in voter sentiment with respect to energy and climate change. If anything, voters have even less trust in government when it comes to the types of energy we use or the vehicles we drive.

The survey asked about a tax on carbon dioxide. This year, by a margin of 44 percentage points (65-21). Last year, it was opposed by a margin of 40 points (63-23). The year before, it was opposed by 34 points (62-38).

We asked about banning gasoline-powered vehicles. This year, it was opposed by a margin of 67 points (82-15). Last year, it was opposed by a margin of 63 points (76-13). The year before, it was opposed by a margin of 66 points (75-9).

In short, there has been a lot of durability of sentiment on this issue, and where there has been change, it has run counter to the policy preferences of the left.

Michael McKenna, who conducted the research, added some context:

As we have seen across a number of years, climate change is not a priority for most. Just 28 respondents (2.8 percent) identified it as the most pressing issue facing the United States, and just 29 more (2.9 percent) identified it as the second most pressing issue facing the United States. Compare this to the 55 percent that identified the economy as either the first or second most important issue facing the United States.

Given that, it is not surprising that there continues to be limited appetite to pay to address climate change. When asked what they would be willing to pay each year to address climate change, the median response was 20 dollars, and 35 percent (including 15 percent of self-identified Democrats) said they are unwilling to pay anything. There has been some rapid erosion in these responses: last year, the median response was 55 dollars.

Steve Moore, from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, issued the following statement:

The American people want affordable energy and to make their own choice of what to drive. This poll shows Republicans have a huge opportunity to score political points by getting out in front of the parade against Biden’s destructive anti-energy agenda.

Additional Resources:

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The Unregulated Podcast #133: Why Does Rice Play Texas?

On this episode of The Unregulated Podcast Tom Pyle and Mike McKenna discuss the growing 2024 presidential field, more bumbles from team Biden, the debt battle, and the unique happenings of Florida.


150 Ways President Biden and the Democrats Have Made it Harder to Produce Oil & Gas

Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have a plan for American energy: make it harder to produce and more expensive to purchase. Since Biden took office, his administration and Congressional Democrats have taken over 150 actions deliberately designed to make it harder to produce energy here in America.  A list of those actions appears below. A PDF of the list is available to download here.

On January 20, 2021, 

  1. Besides canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, 
  2. President Biden restricted domestic production by issuing a moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. 
  3. He also restored and expanded the use of the government-created social cost of carbon metric to artificially increase the regulatory costs of energy production of fossil fuels when performing analyses, as well as artificially increase the so-called “benefits” of decreasing production.
  4. Biden continued to revoke Trump administration executive orders, including those related to the Waters of the United States rule and the Antiquities Act. The Trump-era actions decreased regulations on Federal land and expanded the ability to produce energy domestically. 

On January 27, 2021,

  1. Biden issued an executive order announcing a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on public lands 
  2. or in offshore waters 
  3. and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices. 
  4. He directed his Interior Department to conduct a review of permitting and leasing policies. 
  5. Also, by Executive Order, Biden directed agencies to eliminate federal fossil fuel “subsidies” wherever possible, disadvantaging oil and natural gas compared to other industries that receive similar Federal tax treatments or other energy sources which receive direct subsidies. 
  6. This Biden Executive Order attacked the energy industry by promoting “ending international financing of carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy while simultaneously advancing sustainable development and a green recovery.” In other words, the U.S. government would leverage its power to attack oil and gas producers while subsidizing favored industries. 
  7. Biden’s EO pushed for an increase in enforcement of “environmental justice” violations and support for such efforts, which typically are advanced by radical environmental organizations and slip-and-fall lawyers hoping to cash in on the backs of energy consumers.  

On February 2, 2021,

  1. The EPA hired Marianne Engelman-Lado, a prominent environmental justice proponent, to advance its radical Green New Deal social justice agenda at the EPA, a signal to industry that it plans to continue its attack on American energy. 

On February 4, 2021,

  1. At the behest of the January 27th Climate Crisis EO, the DOJ withdrew several Trump-era enforcement documents which provided clarity and streamlined regulations to increase energy independence. 

On February 19, 2021, 

  1. Biden officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, which is detrimental to Americans while propping up oil production in Russia and OPEC and increasing the dependence of Europe on Russian oil and natural gas. It also benefits China, who dominates the supply chain for critical minerals that are needed for wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicle batteries.

On February 23, 2021,

  1. Biden administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of H.R. 803 which curtailed energy production on over 1.5 million acres of federal lands. 

On March 11, 2021,

  1. The President signed ARPA, which included numerous provisions advancing Biden’s green priorities, such as a $50 million environmental slush fund directed towards “environmental justice” groups, including efforts advanced by Biden’s EO. 
  2. ARPA also included $50 million in grant funding for Clean Air Act pollution-related activities aimed at advancing the green agenda at the expense of the fossil fuel industry.

On March 15, 2021,

  1. Biden’s Securities and Exchange Commission sought input regarding the possibility of a rule that would require hundreds of businesses to measure and disclose greenhouse gas emissions in a standardized way, hugely increasing the environmental costs of compliance and disincentivizing oil and gas production.

On April 15, 2021,

  1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policy statement outlines — and effectively endorses — how the agency would consider market rules proposed by regional grid operators that seek to incorporate a state-determined carbon price in organized wholesale electricity markets. This amounts to a de facto endorsement of a carbon tax that would be paid by everyday Americans in their utility bills. 

On April 16, 2021, 

  1. At Biden’s Direction, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland revoked policies in Secretarial Order 3398 established by the Trump administration including rejecting “American Energy Independence” as a goal; 
  2. rejecting an “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy;” 
  3. rejecting “strengthening the Department of the Interior’s Energy Portfolio;” 
  4. and rejecting establishing the “Executive Committee for Expedited Permitting.” These actions set the stage for the unprecedented slowdown in energy activity by the Interior Department, steward of 2.46 billion acres of federal mineral estate and all its energy and mineral resources.

On April 22, 2021,

  1. Biden issued the U.S. International Climate Finance Plan to funnel international financing toward green industries and away from oil and gas.  

On April 27, 2021,

  1. The Biden administration issued a Statement of Administration Policy in support of S.J. Res. 14 which rescinded a Trump-era rule that would have cut regulations on American energy production. 

On April 28, 2021, 

  1. Biden’s EPA issued a Notice of Reconsideration that would propose to revoke a Trump-era action that revoked California’s waiver for California’s Advanced Clean Car Program (Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Zero Emission Vehicle Requirements).

On May 5, 2021,

  1. This proposed Fish and Wildlife Service Rule revokes a Trump administration rule and expands the definition of “incidental take” under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The rule would impact energy production on federal lands, increasing regulatory burdens. 

On May 20, 2021,

  1. Biden issued an executive order on Climate-Related Financial Risk that would artificially increase regulatory burdens on the oil and gas industry by increasing the “risk” the federal government undertakes in doing business with them.

On May 28, 2021,

  1. Biden’s FY 2022 revenue proposals include nearly $150 billion in tax increases directly levied against the oil and gas energy producers. 

On July 28, 2021,

  1. This Department of Energy determination increases regulatory burdens on commercial building codes, requiring green energy codes to disincentivize natural gas and other energy sources. DOE readily admits they ignored efforts private industry is making on their own and utilized the questionable “social costs of carbon” to overstate the public benefit. 
  2. The Executive Order also kicked off the development of more stringent long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards, a backdoor way to compel the electrification of vehicles. 

On August 11, 2021,

  1. The White House released a letter from Jake Sullivan begging OPEC+ (OPEC plus Russia) to produce more oil.

On September 3, 2021, 

  1. Biden’s Department of Transportation issued a proposed rule that would update the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Model Years 2024–2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks to increase fuel economy regulations on passenger cars and light vehicles. The modeling calculated “fuel savings” by multiplying fuel price with ‘avoided fuel costs’ to disincentivize gasoline by making it more costly to afford ICE cars and trucks.

On September 9, 2021,

  1. NASA and the FAA launched a partnership to reduce “fuel use and harmful emissions” by strong-arming industry to adopt elements of their green agenda. 
  2. Department of Education’s Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP) includes efforts to incorporate the green agenda into as many guidance and policies as possible, effectively leveraging the department as an anti-fossil fuel propaganda tool. 

On October 4, 2021,

  1. The FWS published its final rule revoking Trump-era actions which eased burdensome regulations on energy action. 

On October 7, 2021,

  1. The Council on Environmental Quality revoked Trump administration NEPA reforms that reduced regulatory burdens by reinstating tangential environmental impacts of proposed projects. 
  2. Biden announced plans to designate the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, a move counter to Trump’s reversal of a similar Obama-era proclamation. Trump aimed to allow energy exploration in the area to increase energy independence. 
  3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) CAP includes efforts to switch fuel away from oil and natural gas and subsidize more costly, less efficient fuel sources. 
  4. As part of its CAP, EPA intends to incorporate Biden’s Green New Deal agenda throughout its rulemaking process. 

On October 21, 2021,

  1. This report paints climate change, and therefore oil and gas producers, as a “risk to financial stability.” The report recommended the “climate disclosures” later set forth by the Biden administration. 

On October 28, 2021,

  1. Rep. Rho Khanna interrogated oil CEOs about why they were increasing production as their ‘European Counterparts’ were lowering their own.

On October 29, 2021, 

  1. The Bureau of Land Management announced the use of social costs of carbon in decision-making for approving permits for oil and gas drilling. This devalues the economic benefits of energy production on federal lands.

On October 30, 2021, 

  1. The Department of Labor issued a final ESG Rule that would require fiduciaries to consider the economic effects of climate change and other so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when evaluating funds for retirement plans. The rule would strongly encourage fiduciaries to draw capital from domestic energy development in oil and natural gas to renewables.

On November 2, 2021, 

  1. The Biden administration led a “Global Methane Pledge” to reduce global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Neither Russia nor China signed the pledge, increasing the world’s reliance on these two countries for energy-related imports and disadvantaging the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, as well as large consumers of energy such as industrial manufacturing and agriculture.

On November 4, 2021, 

  1. Biden committed to “ending fossil fuel financing abroad,” targeting the global fossil fuel industry, thereby disadvantaging them, which increases global oil and gas prices. Further, key countries, like China, did not sign the pledge, so the pledge harms signatories while empowering adversaries. This is another case of unilateral economic and energy disarmament. 

On November 5, 2021,

  1. Biden Energy Sec. Granholm laughed at questions about boosting oil production.

On November 12, 2021,

  1. New Source Review: These broad, overreaching regulations target new, modified, and reconstructed oil and natural gas sources, and would require states to reduce methane emissions from hundreds of thousands of existing sources nationwide for the first time. The Proposed Rule follows the President’s Day 1 Climate EO and the passage of the S.J. Res. 14, a CRA rescinding Trump-era energy independence policies. The proposed rule spends several paragraphs dismissing the effects of the rule on the oil and gas industry and misleadingly applies its effects on the industry to only the “140,000” (an underestimate of the over 220,000) employees directly involved in extraction. This means it ignores the nearly 10 million other people working in the oil and gas industry and the impacts to the oil and gas economy more broadly. 

On November 15, 2021, 

  1. Biden’s Interior Department announced plans to withdraw Chaco Canyon from oil and gas drilling for 20 years.
  2. The Biden administration nominated Saule Omarova to serve as Comptroller of the Currency. Omarova’s past comments speak for themselves: “A lot of the smaller players in [the fossil fuel] industry are going to, probably, go bankrupt in short order—at least, we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change,” she said. 

On November 17, 2021,

  1. HUD’s CAP leverages the Community Development Block Grant to advance ‘environmental justice’ efforts. 
  2. Biden calls on FTC to probe “anti-consumer behavior” by energy companies.

On November 19, 2021, 

  1. Biden endorsed several oil and gas provisions in the Build Back Better Bill, including a new tax on methane, of up to $1500 per ton; 
  2. prohibiting energy production in the Arctic and offshore leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico Planning Areas; 
  3. increased fees and royalties for onshore and offshore oil and gas production; 
  4. a new $8 billion tax on companies that produce, process, transmit or store oil and natural gas starting in 2023;  
  5. limited ability of energy producers to claim tax credits for upfront and royalty payments in foreign countries – amounting to a tax increase on domestic energy producers; 
  6. and a 16.4 cent tax on each barrel on crude oil – up from 9.7 cents – a $13 billion tax increase on oil production.

On November 26, 2021, 

  1. Biden’s Interior Department issued its report on the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Program includes recommendations to raise rents and royalty rates on oil and gas producers, even though federal energy production already lags that from state and private lands.

On December 14, 2021,

  1. The EPA launched a revamp of its Office of Civil Rights to add so-called environmental justice enforcement as a key pillar in enforcing Title VI civil rights complaints. The agency’s announcements mean social justice claims against, among others, the oil and gas industry will increase costs and penalties that have specious connections to its environmental mission. 

On December 21, 2021, 

  1. Biden’s Department of Transportation issued its Final Rule revoking Trump-era actions which prevented California from arbitrarily becoming the national standard for fuel emissions. The rule set the stage for the administration to reinstate California’s waiver, and, since automakers do not make different cars for different states, the rule would allow California’s radical environmental policies to reach nationwide, forcing people nationwide to pay for vehicles meeting California’s standards. 

On December 30, 2021,

  1. Biden’s EPA issued its Final Rule for increased “fuel efficiency standards.” According to the Final Rule, “These standards are the strongest vehicle emissions standards ever established for the light-duty vehicle sector. The rule, in responding to comments, claims “energy security benefits to the U.S. from decreased exposure to volatile world oil prices” suggesting that decreasing oil and gas production in the U.S. will result in less exposure to the international oil and gas market because they will be disincentivizing vehicles that use oil and gas. The rule also claims that it will result in “fuel savings” entirely due to less use of fuel.

On January 13, 2022,

  1. DOE announced an initiative to hire 1,000 staffers for their Clean Energy Corps, a group of staff dedicated to Biden’s promise to destroy fossil fuels. 

On January 14, 2022,

  1. Biden nominated Sarah Raskin to serve as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve. She was deemed so radical on her belief that fed policy should be dictated by environmental policy that she gained a bipartisan opposition and had to withdraw her nomination.

On February 9, 2022, 

  1. A proposed rule on Coal and Oil Power Plant Mercury Standards would revoke a Trump-era rule that cut red tape on coal and oil-fired power generators and followed the Supreme Court’s rejection of an earlier Obama administration rule. This would effectively reinstate Obama-era regulations which sought to increase regulations on coal and oil-fired power plants.

On February 18, 2022,

  1. FERC updated a 23-year-old policy for assessing proposed natural gas pipelines, adding new considerations for landowners, environmental justice communities, and other factors. In a separate but related decision, the commission also laid out a framework for evaluating projects’ greenhouse gas emissions.

On February 21, 2022, 

  1. The Biden administration paused working all new oil and gas leases on Federal land in response to a judge blocking their arbitrary use of social costs of carbon, unnecessarily hurting domestic oil and gas production.  

On February 28, 2022, 

  1. The Ozone Transport Proposed Rule would expand federal emissions regulations over a wider geographic region and over a wider array of sources, including the gathering, boosting and transmission segments of the oil and gas sector. Integral energy production states like Nevada, Utah and Wyoming would be required to jump through more red tape.

On March 1, 2022,

  1. Refusal To Appeal adverse leasing court decision: The Biden administration refused to appeal an unprecedented decision to vacate an offshore oil and gas leasing sale held in November 2021. This means under Biden, the U.S. has not held one successful lease sale offshore. 
  2. Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities: This policy statement increases climate change regulations for new interstate natural gas facilities. 

On March 8, 2022,

  1. President Biden tried to deflect from his anti-energy record saying there are 9,000 issued leases on federal lands without current drilling. This is true and it’s also true that this is the lowest percentage of unused leases in at least 20 years — in other words, lease utilization is at a multi-decade high.

On March 9, 2022,

  1. EPA Reinstates California Emissions Waiver: The EPA reinstated California’s emissions waivers, allowing the state to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards, standards which will likely be adopted nationwide and are sure to make vehicles more expensive. The practical effect is that California is setting policy for people in all the other states despite their terrible record of energy inflation.

On March 11, 2022,

  1. Natural Gas Infrastructure Project Reviews: This interim regulation will increase the regulatory burden on natural gas facilities by, among other things, requiring climate change impacts be considered when determining whether a project is in the public interest.

On March 16, 2022,

  1. Doubling Down on Social Costs of Carbon: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the dubious social costs of carbon metric which had been rejected by another court by issuing a stay on the lower court’s ruling. The ruling itself cast doubt on the lower court’s ruling. The Biden administration argued against the lower court’s ruling to reinstate the SCC metric. The Social Cost of Carbon is a “made-up” number designed to make any hydrocarbon project in the U.S. more expensive. It is an “end-around” the politically difficult carbon tax most of the Green Establishment supports. 

March 21, 2022,

  1. SEC Proposed Rule on Mandatory Climate Disclosures: The SEC’s proposed rule would require public companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions 
  2. and their exposure to climate change. This rule would massively increase so-called environmental costs of compliance and, in tandem with so-called social costs of carbon, artificially disincentivizing oil and gas production. 

March 28, 2022,

  1. Army Corps of Engineers’ Review of its Nationwide Permit 12 for Oil or Natural Gas Pipeline Activities: The corps announced it would be reviewing NWP 12 late last month as part of Biden’s day-1 executive order on climate change mandating all federal agencies ensure their work is in line with its climate and environmental objectives. The review is part of a long list of actions that confuse and delay permitting for critical infrastructure. This makes pipelines harder to build and improve in the U.S.

March 30, 2022

  1. Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meeting: The WHEJAC will hold its first two meetings to, among other things, advance Green New Deal priorities including “environmental justice and pollution reduction, energy, climate change mitigation and resiliency, environmental health, and racial inequity.”

March 31, 2022

  1. President Biden announces that he will sell one million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for the next six months. 
  2. Biden wants to penalize oil companies with unused leases: President Biden called on Congress to pass legislation enacting “use it or lose it” fines on wells that oil companies have leased from the federal government but have not used in years and “on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing… Companies that are producing from their leased acres and existing wells will not face higher fees.” The extra fees on federally leased land are on top of rents that the oil companies pay to hold the leases, “bonus bids” paid by the winning bidder at lease sales and the fact that 66 percent of federal leases are currently producing oil. This is simply a deflection from the Biden administration’s war on affordable North American energy supplies. 
  3. Biden’s Budget Contains More Anti-Oil Proposals: President Biden’s budget for the fiscal year 2023 is $5.8 trillion. It contains large amounts of climate spending and anti-oil and gas policies that did not get passed in his Build Back Better bill last year. 
  4. Biden is seeking $50 billion for programs to address climate change, 
  5. including $18 billion to build the U.S. government’s resilience to climate change, 
  6. $3.3 billion in funding for clean energy projects and at least $20 million for a new “Civilian Climate Corps.” 
  7. To help pay for the increased climate spending, Biden is asking Congress to eliminate tax provisions that aid domestic energy production, 
  8. including tax deductions for intangible drilling costs and low-production wells that enable small producers in the United States to produce oil. Removing these deductions will lower domestic output while further raising already high oil and gasoline prices.

April 5, 2022,

  1. Biden’s Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management releases a “Strategic Vision” with no discussion of increasing domestic fossil energy production: The Department of Energy is statutorily required to carry out research and development with “the goal of improving the efficiency, effectiveness, and environmental performance of fossil energy production, upgrading, conversion, and consumption.” (42 USC 16291) However, the Biden Department of Energy has no interest in increasing fossil energy production. Despite the requirements of the law, the Strategic Vision is only about “Advancing Justice, Labor, and Engagement; Advancing Carbon Management Approaches toward Deep Decarbonization; and Advancing Technologies that Lead to Sustainable Energy Resources.”  

April 12, 2022,

  1. Biden extended the availability of higher biofuels-blended gasoline during the summer to lower gasoline costs and to reduce reliance on foreign energy sources. The measure will allow Americans to buy E15, a gasoline blend that contains 15 percent ethanol from June 1 to September 15. Oil refiners are required to blend some ethanol into gasoline under a pair of laws, passed in 2005 and 2007, known as the Renewable Fuels Program, intended to lower the use of oil and greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependency on foreign oil by mandating increased levels of ethanol in the nation’s fuel mix every year. However, since the passage of the 2007 law, the mandate has been met with criticism that it has contributed to increased fuel prices and has done little to lower greenhouse gas emissions. With looming food shortages already acknowledged by President Biden, turning his back on domestic energy production while dedicating even more food to make energy inefficiently is not wise.  

April 15, 2022,

  1. Biden announced 144,000 acres of the federal mineral estate opened for oil and gas leasing — just 0.00589 percent of the 2.46 billion acres the American people own.  White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “Today’s action…was the result of a court injunction that we continue to appeal, and it’s not in line with the president’s policy, which is to ban additional leasing.”
  2. The administration announced it would resume leasing, but with a royalty rate almost 50 percent higher
  3. Withdrawal of M-37046 and 
  4. reinstatement of M37039: “The Bureau of Land Management’s Authority to Address Impacts of its Land Use Authorizations Through Mitigation” The Interior Department reversed a Trump administration decision which limited the scope of “compensatory mitigation” the Department could force upon projects on federal land as a condition of receiving a permit, which will hit energy and mining projects especially hard. Under the new guidance, opponents in the federal government could require mitigation located far from the project with little relevance, effectively giving bureaucrats a blank check to request whatever they wish of a permit seeker with little controls. This decision was made less than a week after the DOI Inspector General reported that there were no controls or apparent records justifying previous versions of this program, and warned they may have to review the overall program again. This is a “3rd world” approach giving government officials the latitude to effectively deny a project by assessing “compensatory mitigation” so expensive as to make it uneconomic, or to fund their pet projects by extorting additional funds from a permit-seeker.

April 19, 2022,

  1. Biden Restores Climate to NEPA: The Biden administration completed reforms on how agencies implement the National Environmental Policy Act, effectively undoing one of the Trump administration’s most important environmental regulatory rollbacks. This opens the door for officials to cook up whatever justification they desire to impede energy development under the guise of NEPA. 

April 20, 2022,

  1. White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy states on MSNBC that “President Biden remains absolutely committed to not moving forward with additional drilling on public lands.”

April 21, 2022,

  1. U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry said the world’s reliance on natural gas should be limited to a decade. He said, “We have to put the industry on notice: You’ve got six years, eight years, no more than 10 years or so, within which you’ve got to come up with a means by which you’re going to capture, and if you’re not capturing, then we have to deploy alternative sources of energy.” Repeated statements like this from administration officials tell investors not to sponsor energy investments in the U.S., since it implies the use of those energy sources will be limited by the government. 

April 25, 2022,

  1. Biden reverses Trump’s Alaska oil plan: The Biden administration released a management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, an Indiana-sized area reserved for oil and gas leasing. The final decision reverses a Trump-era plan that had opened most of the reserve to oil and gas leasing and withdraws some of the most prospective oil and gas areas from consideration.  

April 28, 2022,

  1. The Biden administration admitted to using faulty modeling which overestimated wildlife effects, delaying permitting on existing leases.

May 18, 2022,

  1. The Biden administration announced they were canceling a lease sale of over one million acres in the Cook Inlet in Alaska.
  2. At the same time, the Biden administration announced they were canceling a lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico.

May 19, 2022,

  1. HR. 7688 is named the “Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act,” and it would give the President vast powers to set price controls by executive fiat. If passed, this legislation will cause even more harm to American energy consumers. Price controls don’t work, and our experience during the gas lines of the 1970s should remind us that price controls will lead to shortages
  2. S.4214 is a similar “price gouging” bill taken up in the Senate.

June 2, 2022,

  1. The Biden administration settled with environmental litigants to do what the Biden administration wanted to do and more thoroughly analyze the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on 4 million acres of federal lands. This provides more delay, potential litigation about sufficiency, and more uncertainty about investment.
  2. Biden’s EPA announced they were allowing states greater power to stop roads, dams, shopping malls, housing developments, wineries, breweries, pipelines, coal terminals, and other projects using Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.  

June 7, 2022,

  1. Biden’s EPA deals a death blow to Pebble Mine in Alaska.  Citing its authority under the 1972 Clean Water Act, EPA proposed a legal determination that would ban the disposal of mining waste rock in the Bristol Bay watershed. Pebble is one of the world’s largest copper deposits –essential for electrification—and holds enormous quantities of additional minerals, including strategic ones. 

June 8, 2022,

  1. Biden reduces fees on renewables while raising them on oil and gas.  President Biden’s Interior Department announced it will reduce the fees on renewable projects on federal lands after announcing recently that royalty rates and rents would increase as much as 50% for oil and gas projects on federal lands.

June 28, 2022,

  1. President Biden considers new regulations that would hamper the largest oil-producing area in the world.  His latest consideration is EPA implementing new requirements that would curb drilling across parts of the Permian Basin—the world’s biggest oil field that straddles Texas and New Mexico.

July 6, 2022,

  1. President Biden releases his draft offshore lease plan.   The plan includes an option with zero lease sales. There is the potential for ten potential new leases in the Gulf of Mexico and one in the Cook Inlet off the southern coast of Alaska. There are no new leases in federal waters off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Biden’s plan is in sharp contrast to President Trump’s proposed offshore lease plan that had 47 new offshore drilling leases, including in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. President Trump had proposed a vast expansion of drilling sales to cover more than 90 percent of coastal waters, including areas off California and new zones in the Atlantic and Arctic. The earliest Biden’s offshore lease program could be finalized is likely late fall.

July 7, 2022,

  1. The Biden administration proposes a strict appliance standard rule for furnaces, the goal of which is to increase the upfront cost of using natural gas furnaces so great that people will switch to electric heating.   

July 14, 2022,

  1. Biden sells oil to China from the SPR.  Biden has sold more than five million barrels of oil from the SPR to European and Asian nations instead of U.S. refiners, compromising U.S. energy security. Biden’s Energy Department in April announced the sale of 950,000 barrels from SPR to Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation, which is wholly owned by the Chinese government.  China purchased that oil from U.S. emergency reserves to bolster its own stockpile. China has been buying large amounts of oil for its reserves since the early COVID lockdowns when prices were low due to demand destruction.

July 15, 2022,

  1. Biden’s Federal Highway Administration, without authority to do so, proposed requiring all states to track and reduce on-road vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.

August 16, 2022,

  1. President Biden signs the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes new taxes on natural gas extraction and methane leaks, and 
  2. Superfund taxes on crude oil and its related products, and
  3. An extension of biofuel tax credits and a new tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel. These biofuel tax credits will encourage existing petroleum refining capacity to convert to biofuels, making it harder for Americans to get the petroleum fuel products they need for transportation and home heating. These incentives will make the United States import more petroleum products from countries with additional capacity such as China and the Middle East, while committing more agricultural products to fuel, rather than food.  
  4. IRA:  The law also encourages states to adopt California’s plan to phase out gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

August 17, 2022,

  1. A federal judge reinstated a moratorium on coal leasing from federal lands that had been implemented during the Obama administration and was lifted under President Donald Trump. The ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian Morris requires government officials to conduct a new environmental review prior to resuming coal sales from federal lands. According to the judge, the government’s previous review of the program had not adequately considered the impacts of climate change from coal’s greenhouse gas emissions, among other effects. 

August 18, 2022

  1. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm sent a letter to refiners threatening “to deploy emergency actions” against the industry if they continue to export refined products or otherwise fail to build refined product inventories. This ignores the record of increasing exports of petroleum coinciding with rising production in the U.S.

August 22, 2022,

  1. U.S. Appeals Court reinstates Biden’s ban on oil and gas leasing 

September 6, 2022

  1. The Biden administration reached an agreement with environmental groups to and halt drilling permits on over 58,000 acres of land in a sue-and-settle case.

September 12, 2022,

  1. EPA announced they rejected Cheniere Energy’s LNG appeal to exempt two turbines at LNG export terminals from a hazardous pollution rule despite the needs of the Europeans and others for LNG and Biden’s promises to help allies with supplies. 

September 19, 2022

  1. The Department of Energy announces the sale of an additional 10 million barrels of oil from the SPR

September 20, 2022,

  1. The Biden administration is expected to soon finalize a rule banning oil and gas leasing near Chaco Culture National Historical Park opposition from local Indigenous leaders, who say the administration’s rule would prevent them from collecting royalties on their land.

September 30, 2022,

  1. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and senior White House officials met with U.S. refiners. The Biden administration officials threatened the refiners with an export ban

October 5, 2022,

  1. The Biden administration is reportedly working to wind down sanctions against Venezuela’s authoritarian government in exchange for oil production.  This ignores that Venezuelan crude oil is much more carbon intensive than the domestic oil the Biden Administration is restricting, or Canadian oil which would have been transported via the Keystone XL pipeline.  

October 7, 2022,

  1. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that was reopening the comment period on the ESG rule because a “technological error” resulted in the deletion of some public comments. But the SEC only gave people 14 days to figure out if their comment was deleted and to submit a comment again.  

October 2, 2022,

  1. Biden administration officials lobbied the Saudis and other members of OPEC+ to hold off reducing oil output until after the mid-term elections.  

October 6, 2022,

  1. The Department of the Interior moves forward with some leasing but notes that they are “mandated” by the Inflation Reduction Act. In other words, DOI is trying not to lease unless mandated by an act of Congress. This ignores that current law requires them to lease periodically, which they are honoring in the breach.

November 2, 2023

  1. President Biden threatens oil companies with a windfall profits tax—again.  “Their profits are a windfall of war,” Mr. Biden said, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine as the reason for high prices for oil and gasoline. Biden could easily increase domestic oil production by changing his anti-oil and gas policies that began on his first day in office.

November 9, 2022

  1. California proposes banning new diesel trucks by 2040.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) proposed a regulation that would require manufacturers to sell only “zero-emission” medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the state by 2040.

November 16, 2022

  1. U.S. supports the phase out of fossil at COP27.

November 17, 2022

  1. Biden releases more stringent requirements to EPA’s proposed methane rule at COP27.  At the Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt, President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the text of a supplemental proposed rule regulating methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industries that is more stringent than the original proposed rule in 2021. The 2021 rule targets emissions from existing oil and gas wells nationwide, rather than focusing only on new wells as previous EPA regulations have done. The new rule released at COP27, however, includes all drilling sites, even smaller wells that emit less than 3 tons of methane per year.  Small wells currently are subject to an initial inspection but are rarely checked again for leaks. The new proposal also requires operators to respond to credible third-party reports of high-volume methane leaks. These more stringent requirements result in a near doubling of the economic costs, which are estimated to produce a 13 percentage point increase in reduced emissions from 2005 levels by 2030. Increasing costs will increase bills for consumers at a time when natural gas prices are already expected to climb.
  2. Federal government grants lesser prairie chicken ESA protections.

November 29, 2022

  1. EPA proposes exorbitant estimate for the social cost of carbon.  President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new estimate for the social cost of carbon emissions that nearly quadruples the interim figure from the Obama Administration. The Biden administration has been using the Interagency Working Group’s interim value of $51 per metric ton of carbon dioxide, but EPA has proposed increasing it to $190.

December 7, 2022

  1. President Biden seeks fossil fuel-free federal buildings and bans natural gas.

December 8, 2022

  1. Bureau of Land Management piles its methane rule atop those set by EPA and Congress.  BLM’s proposal would tighten limits on gas flaring on federal land and require energy companies to better detect methane leaks. The rule would impose monthly limits on flaring and charge fees for flaring that exceeds those limits. 

December 23, 2022

  1. California’s regulators release their net zero plan.  Californian regulators approved a plan to reduce the state’s carbon-dioxide emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2045, thereby reaching carbon neutrality, meaning the state will remove as many emissions from the atmosphere as it emits. It aims to do so in part by reducing fossil fuel demand. 

January 10, 2023

  1. U.S. Interior Department names Elizabeth Klein to oversee offshore energy.  She had initially been nominated by the White House to be the Deputy Interior Secretary under current chief Deb Haaland but was withdrawn from consideration in March 2021 amid opposition from moderate Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, whose vote was needed for her confirmation, over concerns that Klein was opposed to oil development.

January 12, 2023

  1. EPA’s proposed rule regarding the Clean Water Act. The rule would expand the EPA and Army’s regulatory oversight to include traditionally navigable waters, territorial seas, interstate waters and, “upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters.”  According to the two agencies, the revised rule is based on definitions that were in place before 2015. Farming groups, oil and gas producers, and real estate developers criticized the regulations as overbearing and burdensome to business, and, in particular, the ruling has the potential to affect natural gas infrastructure projects. It also would exert federal control over lands not owned by the federal government.

January 17, 2023

  1. Biden appointee proposes ban on gas stoves.  Richard Trumka Jr., a Biden commissioner on the CSPC, told Bloomberg the ban is justified because gas stoves increase respiratory problems such as asthma among children, which is a myth promoted by environmentalists whose real agenda is not to reduce asthma but to ban natural gas.  Gas stoves are used in about 35 percent of households nationwide, or about 40 million homes. The household figure is closer to 70 percent in some states, such as California and New Jersey. Other states where many residents use gas stoves include Nevada, Illinois, and New York.

January 31, 2023

  1. Biden administration blocks Minnesota’s Twin Metals Mine.  The Biden administration blocked plans for a major copper, nickel and cobalt mine in northern Minnesota that could have helped supply minerals for his “net-zero” plans. The “Twin Metals Project” would have tapped the Duluth Complex within the Superior National Forest, where 95 percent of the nation’s nickel reserves and 88 percent of American cobalt reserves are found.

February 3, 2023

  1. Biden administration blocks the development of Alaska’s Pebble Mine.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency blocked the development of the proposed Pebble mine–the most significant undeveloped copper and gold resource in the world–because of stated concerns about its environmental impact on Alaska’s aquatic ecosystem.

March 3, 2023

  1. Biden EPA approves Midwest governors’ request for year-round E15 sales.  The Biden administration is recommending for approval a rule that would allow expanded sales of gasoline with a higher ethanol blend (15 percent ethanol), based on a request from governors in Midwest states.

March 9, 2023

  1. Biden administration attacks oil and gas in FY24 budget proposal.

March 10, 2023

  1. Biden’s offshore oil and gas lease plan delayed by 18 months. President Biden’s oil and gas offshore lease plan is late and will be even later as the Interior Department argues it needs until December to finalize the plan. It told a court it needs the rest of the year to complete an analysis on the delayed five-year program, which will replace the expired 2017-2022 program. 

March 14, 2023

  1. Biden withdraws more areas of Alaska from oil exploration.  The Biden administration announced major restrictions on offshore oil leasing in the Arctic Ocean and across Alaska’s North Slope supposedly to temper criticism from environmentalists over a pending decision on an oil drilling project in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve known as Willow and to form a “firewall” to limit future oil leases in the region. The Interior Department said it would issue new rules to block oil and gas leases on more than 55 percent of the 23 million acres that form the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and bar drilling in nearly 3 million acres of the Beaufort Sea — closing it off from oil exploration.  The restricted area of over 16 million acres is about the size of West Virginia. The Willow project, if approved, would take place inside the petroleum reserve, which is located about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The National Petroleum Reserve was established in 1912 as a backup source of oil for the federal government, originally for the Navy, as it was at one time referred to as the Naval Petroleum Reserve. Four sites in the country comprised the Naval Petroleum Reserve. The fourth site is on the North Slope of Alaska.

March 16, 2023

  1. Sen. Whitehouse introduces the “Clean Competition Act,” a carbon border tax.  One consequence of this policy would be a negative impact on trade relations with the rest of the world. A carbon border tax will likely lead to retaliatory tariffs with our trading partners and a trade war as increasing tariffs are applied back and forth. A carbon tax like this one would impact heavy industry the most, as it would raise prices on things like steel, aluminum, and other industrial inputs. Because the costs of tariffs are ultimately passed along to consumers, starting a trade war with the world’s largest producer of aluminum (China produced nearly 60 percent of world aluminum in 2021) is a far cry from supporting the American working class. Additionally, carbon border taxes are ripe for political gamesmanship because determining the true carbon intensity of products from a variety of countries with different regulatory systems and variations in how emissions are tracked is no simple task. The sheer complexity of rating products would impose massive compliance costs throughout global supply chains, the last thing that is needed with runaway inflation and supply chains that are still recovering from the dual shocks of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

March 17, 2023

  1. EPA’s “Good Neighbor” rule increases the costs of electricity for consumers.  The Biden administration announced tougher limits on emissions from power plants, factories and other industrial facilities that cross state boundaries. The new standards, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are intended to place tighter constraints on emissions from 23 Midwestern and Western states that have coal and natural gas power plants and facilities. This interstate regulation, known as the “good neighbor” rule, strengthens and expands an earlier interstate air pollution standard that was enacted during the Obama administration. In finalizing the rule, the EPA included three western states in the regulation — California, Nevada and Utah, due mainly to emissions from their industrial facilities. The new rule includes increased flexibilities, giving power plants emission allowances that will decrease over time. EPA was able to finalize the new standards as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a challenge to EPA’s proposed rule by coal companies and others this month. This rule is but one of many the Biden Administration is planning to roll out in pursuit of its quest to kill coal plants in the United States, as IER has detailed.

March 20, 2023

  1. Biden uses veto to preserve DOL Rule on ESG investing.

March 23, 2023

  1. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers slow walks Line 5 permitting process.

March 30, 2023

  1. California gasoline price gouging bill.  California Democratic lawmakers approved a bill that could provide a penalty for supposed price gouging at the gasoline pump, allowing regulators the power to fine oil companies for supposedly profiting from gas price spikes similar to those that California experienced last summer. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom called for a special legislative session to pass a new tax on oil company profits after the average price of gas in California hit a record high of $6.44 per gallon, according to AAA. State regulators, however, did not pass a new tax because they were worried about supply shortages and higher prices as oil companies pass the new tax onto consumers.

March 31, 2023

  1. New York State to ban gas stoves in new buildings.  New York will become the first state to pass a law banning natural-gas and other fossil-fuel hookups in new buildings on its way to meeting President Biden’s net zero carbon goals and the state’s own targets for greenhouse-gas reduction. The New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, passed in 2019, calls for a reduction in economy-wide greenhouse-gas emissions of 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels.

April 12, 2023

  1. Biden Releases New rules to force electric Vehicles on Americans.  The New York Times notes that EPA is releasing rules that are intended to ensure that electric cars represent between 54 and 60 percent of all new cars sold in the United States by 2030 and 64 to 67 percent by 2032—in 9 years. That would exceed President Biden’s earlier goal announced in 2021 to have all-electric cars account for half of new car sales by 2030. The purpose of the new EPA regulations is to essentially regulate cars with combustible engines out of business by making the rules so stringent that car companies cannot comply, which is a de facto death knell. Today, less than six percent of cars are electric, despite tax credits of up to $7,500. The federal government is also providing tens of billions of subsidies to the battery producers and offering prime parking spaces to electric vehicles with charging stations at nearly every shopping center in America. This ruling would result in a complete transformation of the automotive industrial base and the automotive market, whether the American public likes it or not.

Biden’s SPR Gambit Raises Prices For Americans

The Biden administration is soliciting bids for up to 3 million barrels of sour oil—one tanker’s worth–to refill the emergency reserve stockpile depleted by President Biden’s pre-election releases. Deliveries into the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) are planned for August, with awards to be announced in June. The announcement marks the agency’s second attempt to begin replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after it released 260 million barrels since November of 2021 to curb high oil and gasoline prices resulting from Biden’s oil policies. Releases were continued up until the mid-term election last year and then slightly beyond.

Last fall, the Biden administration indicated it would start to refill the reserve when prices were at or below about $67-$72 per barrel after criticism that they were using the SPR as a political tool. But, its first bid earlier this year ended without a purchase with the administration saying that the cost was too high and the type of oil was not to its specifications. The energy department plans to purchase more oil later this year.

The reserve currently holds nearly 360 million barrels of oil, about half of its total capacity and the lowest level since 1983. The Biden administration recently drained 2.9 million barrels of oil from the SPR, long after it was supposed to have started refilling it. In March, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Petroleum Reserves awarded contracts for the purchase of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to meet its Congressional obligation to sell 26 million barrels in Fiscal Year 2023.

Source: Bloomberg

The Energy Department plans to “repurchase crude at a lower price than the average of about $95 per barrel it was sold for in 2022, while strengthening energy security by providing certainty to the industry in a way that helps encourage near-term supply.” In addition to direct purchases, the agency indicates that part of its strategy for refilling the reserve includes a return of oil from previous exchanges, and avoiding “unnecessary sales unrelated to supply disruptions.” Due to its depleting the oil reserve, the Biden administration was able to cancel about 140 million barrels of oil sales mandated by Congress last year.

Oil traders have been closely watching for any indication that the government would begin refilling the reserve, as its purchases are bound to tighten the market. The sour oil grades sought by the Energy Department are in high demand as OPEC+ has cut output recently, and prices for it are running higher than those for West Texas Intermediate (WTI). Some have pointed out that sellers could get a much higher price on the spot market.

The OPEC+’s 1.16 million barrel per day cut will reduce stocks of sour oils as U.S. oil refiners ramp up purchases for the summer driving season. Middle East oil is priced high to deter any additional buying from U.S. Gulf Coast refiners, leaving them to search for sour seaborne barrels from predominantly Latin America. Shell Plc’s shut-in of its 375,000-barrel per day Zydeco line in the Gulf of Mexico last month because of a leak also reduced supplies. Further, exports of U.S. and Canadian sour grades ramped up in March, bought mainly by Chinese refiners. Any additional demand on domestic barrels could raise oil prices, potentially increasing gasoline prices in the middle of the summer driving season, which Biden does not want with a Presidential election looming next year.


Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the government would repurchase crude oil for the reserve after a congressionally mandated drawdown ends in June. She also claimed to refill the SPR as soon as maintenance work is completed. With those delaying tactics, either nothing will happen, or at best the White House will offer to buy a few barrels here and there and claim mission accomplished. A solicitation for purchase does not mean they have begun restoring the SPR, as they found out in a fruitless solicitation earlier this year. Instead, the real buying will probably not begin until there is no choice – just after the next geopolitical shock – and when the price of one barrel is well in the triple digits. Biden’s energy and climate policies are raising prices for Americans and it will continue to do so as it releases its regulatory agenda and other policies.

*This article was adapted from content originally published by the Institute for Energy Research.

The Unregulated Podcast #132 The Honorable Mike McKenna

On this episode of The Unregulated Podcast Tom Pyle and Mike McKenna discuss the debt ceiling battle, recent staff changes, and a busy week of events in Washington.


Biden’s Bird Blenders Actually Increase Local Temperatures

Studies have found that wind turbines impact local meteorological conditions by raising temperatures at the surface level while the wind turbines are in operation. Due to lucrative federal subsidies, wind farms are being built at a rapid pace contributing to a growing concern of the cumulative impacts these wind projects will produce. Advocates of wind argue that the surface temperature impact of turbines is local and not global, as are emissions of greenhouse gases, and that wind turbines are only redistributing heat rather than trapping it in the atmosphere. Those same advocates, however, ignore the rising energy costs and poor reliability of wind turbines on the electric grid and the fact that after decades of subsidies, wind energy accounted for a mere 4 percent of the total U.S. primary energy consumption in 2022,  while coal, oil and natural gas provided nearly 80 percent. They also ignore the number and types of birds that are killed from wind turbines, which is significant, and the impact of wind turbines on farming.

The Studies

A 2004 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that “large-scale use of wind power can alter local and global climate by extracting kinetic energy and altering turbulent transport in the atmospheric boundary layer.” The study states that large amounts of wind across the continent will produce a pronounced impact on the climate. A 2010 study found that wind farms affect temperatures and humidity near the surface and that the “explosive growth” of future wind farms could impact agriculture. A 2013 study found the same impacts. A 2015 study found that wind farms raise nighttime temperatures. A 2011 Purdue study found increased temperatures at the surface were a result of wind farms, as did a 2016 study in Scotland. A 2018 study estimated that generating electricity demand with wind power in the United States would warm surface temperatures by 0.24 degrees Celsius, which is nearly one-fourth of the amount of warming the globe has seen since 1800.

Wind turbines complicate farming as straight rows in a field and efficient aerial applications are no longer viable, decreasing farm efficiency. Many agriculture pilots refuse to fly their aircraft within a half-mile of the turbines. Ground rig sprayers also do not work well in turbine fields if the ground is soggy or the crops are leaning. And, the equipment used to build wind turbines can damage drainage lines in a field and often the damage is not fixed in a timely manner or at all if the wind company disagrees that the damage is their fault. Also, higher temperatures occurring at night in areas with wind farms results in plants releasing more carbon dioxide than they would otherwise. That carbon dioxide is needed to make plant material and grow crops, but has also been the target of all of President Biden’s actions on climate. Nighttime temperatures have been increasing during the past 40 years and were made worse by wind turbines after they started multiplying, incentivized by federal tax credits beginning in 1992. Those increased nighttime temperature increases are limiting crop yields.

Wildlife Impacts

The studies on the surface temperature did not look at impacts upon wildlife, considering impacts to agriculture instead. In Wyoming, however, wind projects are being built within a major corridor for golden eagles. Mike Lockhart, a wildlife biologist specializing in eagles who worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for more than 30 years said that the number of eagles killed by wind turbines in a major corridor is significant and likely underestimated. The golden eagle is protected under the Eagle Act. Wind facilities are required to obtain so-called “incidental take permits” for killing golden eagles that are issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The wind industry, however, is ignoring the Eagle Law and not getting the required permits, as FWS indicates:

“For golden eagles, a goal of the 2016 Eagle Rule was to increase compliance and improve consistency and efficiency relating to permitting golden eagle take at wind-energy projects. However, those goals have not been realized. While participation in the permit program by wind energy projects has increased since 2016, it still remains well below our expectations. Low application rates and permit-processing requirements that some have perceived as burdensome have resulted in few permits being issued for wind projects as compared to the number of operational wind projects in areas where golden eagles occur. As a result, golden eagles continue to be taken without implementation of conservation actions to offset that take.”

The Biden FWS is not cracking down on wind turbine bird kills. Instead, it proposes to make permitting easier by making it less effective. Because wind project developers think eagle kill permitting is too “burdensome,” the Biden FWS proposes to ease up on the requirement. The FWS proposal is to do away with site specific permits and instead create a “general permit” that covers all normal wind projects and their bird deaths.  A project signs up and pays a small fee, which supposedly mitigates future eagle deaths. As part of the general permit, the entire project is exempt from NEPA as long as eagle killing is all they are doing. Having no requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement as other projects must submit to speeds the process up. Also the requirement that an independent observer count the dead eagles is not part of the general permit. Instead, the government will depend on the wind facility operators (who have not been getting permits) to tell when too many birds have been killed by the turbines. Clearly, this favors wind development at the expense of the eagles. President Biden said that every federal agency should do whatever it can to promote renewables and this FWS proposal apparently meets his test.

A 2013 paper titled “Estimates of bird collision mortality at wind facilities in the contiguous United States” estimated that about 250,000 birds die a year from bird deaths. With around 50,000 megawatts of installed capacity, that is roughly 5 deaths per megawatt per year. For the Biden Administration’s goal of “net zero” emissions, Tesla calculates that the United States will need 2 million megawatts of wind capacity. At five bird deaths per megawatt that results in 10 million deaths a year or 300 million dead birds over the 30 year lives of the FWS proposed general permits. The vast majority of the dead birds are expected to be songbirds, but migratory bird deaths as well as birds of prey have been common.

In Wyoming, the noise and industrialization from wind projects are also expected to spread across migration corridors used by pronghorn antelope, which will not only harm wildlife but could impact tourism in some areas. BluEarth Renewables, which is building the 60-turbine Two Rivers Wind Energy Project near Medicine Bow, and Connect Gen, which is building the Roundhouse Wind Projects, together will have 106 turbines.


The studies showing the impacts of wind turbines on surface temperatures raise questions about the value of wind energy in the United States as the higher nighttime temperatures affect crop yields and contribute to warming, which climate alarmists including President Biden call “an existential threat.”

Also, wind energy is weather driven and as such does not generate power 24/7 as required by consumers of electricity. As such, it requires back-up power from coal or natural gas generators that stand-by at higher operating cost than if they were run 24/7, or expensive batteries if there is enough excess wind power to store electricity for release when the wind is not blowing.  In essence, it requires the building of multiple systems instead of simply one that can run all the time.

Further, wind power is supported by lucrative federal subsidies paid by taxpayers and state mandates. And, Biden’s Fish and Wildlife Service is allowing wind turbines to kill birds by its revised permitting requirements and its lax environmental control. The government is definitely bending all the rules and slathering on huge incentives to build wind turbines.  Americans will have to decide whether they support this preferred energy source or not as the costs mount.

*This article was adapted from content originally published by the Institute for Energy Research.

Biden, Bypassing Congress, Attempts To Close Natural Gas Power Plants

EPA’s proposed power plant rule hits coal plants particularly hard since they would need an extremely expensive technology that is not yet commercial to allow coal plants to generate electricity in the United States. But, the new proposed rule would also wreak havoc on natural gas plants. Biden’s 681-page Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rule would require natural gas plants to blend hydrogen into fuel to survive. Natural gas plants would have to co-fire with 30 percent hydrogen by 2032 and 96 percent hydrogen by 2038. But to be politically acceptable, that hydrogen would have to be produced from renewable electricity (green hydrogen), which is three to four times more expensive. If hydrogen produced from natural gas were allowed, which is generally the way hydrogen is produced today, it would defeat the purpose of forcing hydrogen in natural gas plants. With this rule, politicians are escaping the wrath of citizens for skyrocketing electricity prices by blaming it on electric utilities.

Blending more hydrogen into gas also increases NOx emissions and puts plants out of compliance with other EPA regulations. To reduce NOx, power plants would have to install new turbines and other costly equipment, some of which is only now being developed. Natural gas plants’ other alternative is to add expensive carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) equipment, similar to coal plants, which will also add to consumers’ bills. EPA’s new power plant rule makes coal and natural gas plants so expensive that utilities will be forced to build politically correct wind and solar plants, and raise rates to pay for the new generating technologies.

Existing natural gas plants get more leeway than coal plants in the proposed rule — only the largest natural gas plants, those over 300 megawatts that run over 50 percent of the time, will have to cut their emissions by 90 percent by 2035. Coal plants would have to do so by the end of the decade, unless the plant retires before the end of 2040. The proposed rule puts about 23 percent of existing gas plants in jeopardy. However, that percent could become much larger as EPA is considering lowering the threshold to 150 megawatts. New gas-fired “peaker plants,” used as backup generation to politically correct intermittent wind and solar plants, would face less stringent standards.

Coal plants that run past 2040, would be required to install CCS technology starting in 2030, while those shutting down between 2035 and 2040 would be required to co-fire with 40 percent gas by 2030, putting a “bounty” on closing coal plants. Only one commercial power plant in North America is currently operating with carbon capture– the Boundary Dam Power Station Unit 3 in Canada’s Saskatchewan province. The unit is outfitted with a $1.1 billion carbon-capture system, which is now collecting around 80 percent of the unit’s carbon-dioxide emissions. Removal of fly ash that fouled the capture system for several years after it began running in 2014 required modifications and additions of new equipment.

The EPA is using the Clean Air Act as a means to set the regulation. The proposal, taking more than 18 months to develop, reflects constraints imposed on the EPA by the Supreme Court, which ruled last year that the agency cannot impose a system-wide shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, saying instead the agency could only mandate emissions cuts based on technology that could be deployed “within the fence line” of power facilities themselves. The EPA anticipates the new proposal will cost the power industry over $10 billion, although others expect it to result in costs multiple times higher for replacement power for the plants that will be closed.

The proposed EPA rule is being called a “job killer” and it would increase electricity prices for American consumers, as many of the plants could become stranded assets, if not choosing to add costly equipment, whose costs would be passed onto consumers.  Retrofitting an existing commercial-scale 300-megawatt natural-gas plant with carbon capture would cost $372 million, while retrofitting a similar-size coal plant would cost $600 million, based on recent estimates from the Energy Department. For new plants the cost would be about 10 percent lessAccording to some U.S. power industry experts, carbon capture needs a longer test drive to determine operational challenges, maintenance issues, data and optimization of the system before building whole fleets of CCS technologies.

Senators Joe Manchin and Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia highly criticized the proposal because their state’s economy is reliant on the fossil fuel industry and this new plan would essentially kill it. As of 2021, mining and coal-fired power generation had a $14 billion impact on West Virginia’s economy with the state’s mining industry spending over $2.1 billion on wages. WV coal operators generated roughly $9.1 billion in economic activity in 2019. Capito vowed to formally challenge the EPA’s new rule, using the Congressional Review Act – labeling it as an “illegal overreach.”


According to EPA, 120 natural-gas plants and 200 coal-fired plants would be affected by its proposed rules. It also said that there were plans already for 60 percent of coal generating units to go out of service by 2040 faced with six onerous rules from the EPA. The agency is expected to see lawsuits against the rule questioning whether EPA has the authority to force the use of technologies that are not economically or technically feasible for widespread use. The lawsuits will argue that the proposed rule represents government overreach and threatens to destabilize the electric grid, as intermittent solar and wind units would require very expensive battery back-up to release previously stored power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Regardless which alternatives are chosen, if this new rule goes into effect, Americans’ electricity prices will increase greatly, and American businesses will have a harder time competing against manufacturing in China, India and other parts of the world building coal plants at a breakneck pace.

*This article was adapted from content originally published by the Institute for Energy Research.

EV Batteries An Environmental Time Bomb

The green transition is pushing electric vehicles upon the American public as it is believed that they are less greenhouse gas intensive than gasoline vehicles. Electric vehicles, however, require lithium-ion batteries that have issues regarding greenhouse gas emissions during the mining and processing of the raw materials needed and the disposal of the batteries at the end of their life cycle. As more and more electric vehicles are sold, the problems inherent to mining and disposal increase. The graph below shows the huge increase expected in global EV battery demand. In the United States, electric vehicles are being forced on the public through proposed vehicle standards and purchase incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, also known as the climate bill.

Source: CleanTechnia

The production of lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles results in more carbon dioxide emissions than the production of gasoline-powered cars and their disposal at the end of their life cycle is a growing environmental concern as more and more electric vehicles populate the world’s roads. About 40 percent of the climate impact from the production of lithium-ion batteries comes from the mining and processing of the minerals needed. Mining and refining of battery materials, and manufacturing of the cells, modules and battery packs requires significant amounts of energy which generate greenhouse gases emissions. China, which dominates the world’s EV battery supply chain, gets almost 60 percent of its electricity from coal—a greenhouse gas-intensive fuel. According to the Wall Street Journal, lithium-ion battery mining and production are worse for the climate than the production of fossil fuel vehicle batteries. Production of the average lithium-ion battery uses three times more cumulative energy demand (CED) compared to a generic battery.

Source: Climate News 360

The disposal of the batteries is also a climate threat. If the battery ends up in a landfill, its cells can release toxins, including heavy metals that can leak into the soil and groundwater. A study from Australia found that 98.3 percent of lithium-ion batteries end up in landfills, which increases the likelihood of landfill fires that can burn for years. One landfill in the Pacific Northwest was reported to have had 124 fires between June 2017 and December 2020 due to lithium-ion batteries. Fires are becoming increasingly more common, with 21 fires reported on the site in 2018, increasing to 47 by 2020.

Recycling of lithium-ion batteries is being pushed by governments due to the environmental waste issues associated with them and the growing demand for batteries as more and more electric vehicles are sold. Only about 5 percent of the world’s lithium batteries are recycled compared to 99 percent of lead car batteries recycled in the United States. Recycling lithium batteries, however, can be hazardous. Cutting too deep into a cell or in the wrong place can result in it short-circuiting, combusting, and releasing toxic fumes. Because batteries differ widely in chemistry and construction, it is difficult to create efficient recycling systems. And because the cells are often held together with tough glues that make them difficult to take apart, it is often cheaper for battery makers to buy newly mined metals than to use recycled materials, even with rapidly increasing prices.

Governments are beginning to require some level of recycling, however. In 2018, China, which has the largest EV market and lithium-ion battery production, imposed rules aimed at promoting the reuse of EV battery components. Last year, the European Union passed rules for battery recycling that requires a certain percentage of recycled materials to be used in the manufacturing of new batteries.

Composition of Lithium Ion Batteries

A lithium-ion battery is composed of cells, which contain the active materials, a battery management system, and a pack, which is the structure in which the cells are mounted. Aluminum is important for the pack component because of its light weight but it is a very energy-intensive material, representing 17 percent of the battery’s carbon footprint. About 40 percent of the carbon footprint of the battery comes from the mining, conversion and refining step of the active materials of the cells where nickel, manganese, cobalt and lithium are processed into cathode powder. Actual cell production is the second most energy-demanding activity and represents 20 percent of the carbon footprint due to the energy used during the manufacturing process.

Issues with Mining of Battery Raw Materials

Two types of mining commonly required to extract minerals for batteries are open-pit mining and brine extraction. One of the major ways to extract lithium called brine extraction uses a large amount of water that is pumped into salt flats, bringing saltwater containing minerals to the surface. Once the water evaporates, lithium is filtered out of the mixture. But, the water-intensive process has the potential to contaminate the water supply. More than half the earth’s lithium supply is located in an area called the Lithium Triangle, spanning the Andean Mountain sections of Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. The area is one of the driest places on the globe, and lithium mining consumes as much as 65 percent of the region’s water. Any expansion of demand will place more pressure on water issues.

Also needed for electric vehicles is cobalt, the majority of which is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The mining of cobalt produces hazardous byproducts that can toxify the environment. Cobalt mine sites often contain sulfur, which generate sulfuric acid when exposed to air and water that infiltrates rivers, streams and aquatic life. Child labor is also being used in the Congo to mine cobalt, and about 80 percent of the industrial cobalt mines in the DRC are owned or financed by Chinese companies.


Electric vehicle batteries require mining natural resources, processing them, and manufacturing the materials into batteries, which is energy intensive—3 times more energy intensive than the batteries in internal combustion vehicles. Further, when a battery is at the end of its life cycle, it is usually disposed of as e-waste in landfills that can result in hazardous compounds leaching into the soil and can cause large fires, which are extremely difficult to control due to the large amount of combustible waste that they are mixed with. Recycling the batteries is being pursued by governments, but it is expensive as there is no standardization in battery design and they are difficult to dismantle.  Like many things related to the government-imposed green transition, it appears that much of the foresight that typically accompanies market-driven revolutions is actually hindsight, with consumers left to bear the brunt of unwise decisions and edicts.

*This article was adapted from content originally published by the Institute for Energy Research.

The Unregulated Podcast #131: 10 or 10 Million

On this episode of The Unregulated Podcast Tom Pyle and Mike McKenna discuss the debt ceiling battle, new carbon tax proposals, and the continued deterioration of America’s electric grid and political fabric.