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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Energy

Electric vehicle charging station

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Car manufacturer Honda and electronics conglomerate LG announced plans to build a $4.4 billion facility for electric vehicle battery production in Ohio on August 29. The announcement comes two weeks after the Inflation Reduction Act, which contains incentives for consumers to buy electric vehicles with American-made components such as batteries, was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Aug. 15.

The two multinational companies expect the facility's construction to begin in 2023, with the plant ready to commence production by 2025. It is the first investment announced by Honda toward producing their own batteries since the company said it would go all-electric by 2040.

Honda’s CEO Toshihiro Mibe noted in the company's statement that “Honda is committed to the local procurement of EV batteries which is a critical component of EVs. This initiative in the U.S. with LGES [LG Energy Solution Ltd.], the leading global battery manufacturer, will be part of such a Honda approach.”

The production of a majority of electric vehicle batteries currently in use occurs in China, but Biden has enacted multiple policies to encourage shifting production to the United States and create jobs for American workers. In a March 29 statement, the White House said its efforts “to build a clean energy economy are driving companies to make more in America rebuild our supply chains here at home, and ultimately bring down costs for the American people.”

The Inflation Reduction Act passed Congress with only Democratic votes in the face of uniform Republican opposition in the House and Senate. Vice President Kamala Harris advanced the law with a tiebreaking vote in the Senate, and it was later signed by President Joe Biden.

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act's $369 billion in funding focused on clean energy and reducing climate change, there is a subsidy for car buyers of $7,500 on electric vehicles. The law requires that qualifying vehicles are largely assembled in the U.S. with components made in America, and phasing out previous credits that didn't require U.S.-based production. Provisions for incentives were also included for companies like Honda so they can continue to compete in the U.S. market, and other carmakers such as Tesla, GM, and Ford have cars on the market that will already qualify for new credits.

Additionally, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Biden signed into law in November 2021, has $3.1 billion in subsidies for companies who choose to build electric vehicle-related facilities domestically.

Multiple companies have announced plans to build production facilities in the U.S. since both laws passed and other policies championed by President Biden went into effect, planning billions in investments and thousands of new jobs in multiple states around the country.

GM announced in January that it would be investing $7 billion in Michigan across 4 facilities focused on electric vehicles and battery production. Biden released a statement praising the decision.

In May, Stellantis and Samsung SDI announced that together they would spend $2.5 billion to build a battery production plant in Kokomo, Indiana. The companies stated the facility is projected to create 1,400 new jobs in the area. That same month, Hyundai said that they would be building a $6.5 billion EV factory outside of Savannah, Georgia, which they project would create 8,100 jobs for the state.

In July, Panasonic said they will build a $4 billion electric vehicle battery plant in De Soto, Kansas after forging a partnership with Tesla to supply batteries for that company’s line of cars.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

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Norm Coleman

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The dark money group American Action Network has launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign against vulnerable House Democrats, dishonestly blaming them for gasoline prices. The ads make no mention of the group's history of accepting oil and gas industry money.

According to a press release on Wednesday, the tax-exempt 501(c)(4) group is spending $2 million on ads against five Democratic incumbents seeking reelection in toss-up districts this November.

The ads against Reps. Marcy Kaptur (OH), Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas (NH), and Frank Mrvan (IN) claim that each is to blame for gasoline prices because they stand with President Joe Biden in opposing unlimited oil and gas drilling.

"This summer the signs are all around us. It was their plan all along," claims the ad against the two New Hampshire representatives, before a clip is shown of President Joe Biden in mid-sentence saying, "... no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill. Period."

The spot urges people to call Kuster and Pappas to tell them to "unleash American energy" and "lower prices."

This out-of-context partial quote comes from a March 2020 Democratic debate, at which Biden said that he would oppose offshore drilling and new drilling leases on public lands.

"Number one, no more subsidies for fossil fuel industry. No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, number one," he said. CNN has previously debunked claims that that statement indicated a desire to shut down all drilling.

Another new spot by the group attacks Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) with the same misleading partial Biden quote. It claims, "Now gas costs $5 a gallon ... but Dina Titus wanted it to cost more," before playing clip of her saying, "Well, you've got to raise the gas tax."

Titus made the comment in a Feb. 21, 2020, podcast interview as part of a discussion about how to address infrastructure challenges facing the Highway Trust Fund, a federal gas tax-funded source of money for highway construction and mass transit. At the time, gasoline cost less than $2.50 a gallon on average.

She has since signed on a co-sponsor of a bill to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax entirely given the current national price spike.

Though the group blames current prices on the lack of domestic drilling under Biden, experts agree that this is not a major factor.

The cost of gasoline began to rise under former President Donald Trump in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic reduced supply and the reopening of the economy boosted demand. It then went up much more this year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Congress' nearly unanimous decision to suspend Russian oil and gas imports in response.

Democratic lawmakers and consumer groups have also blamed some of the increase on price gouging and greed on the part of oil and gas companies.

The American Action Network was founded in 2010 and is chaired by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who has been a registered lobbyist for Saudi Arabia in recent year. It has spent millions of dollars in dark money on attacking Democrats, supporting Republicans, and opposing fossil fuel regulations.

While it does not disclose its donors, in the ads or elsewhere, public records show that American Action Network and its affiliated American Action Forum think tank have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the oil and gas industry, and tens of thousands more from the American Natural Gas Alliance.

A spokesperson for the American Action Network did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.