Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, continues to show his coal-based roots are far from gone. This week, the Senator, who effectively kept the Build Back Better plan from passing, said he still has reservations about an all-EV future.
“I have grave concerns about moving too quickly towards an EV-only future,” Manchin said at a panel hearing earlier this week. Citing concerns from the current dominance of China, which has controlled the market for minerals for EV batteries, Manchin said they have “cornered the market.”
Initially, Manchin said he supported the production of EVs, especially as they cut harmful emissions. Reliance on foreign dependence for EV materials is what leaves Machin completely concerned. After President Joe Biden aimed for half of all new cars sold to be all-electric by 2030, Manchin said the target was “unattainable,” especially as Russia started its invasion of Ukraine.
“It is frustrating to hear calls for a swifter transition to electrified transportation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Machin said, according to Business Insider. “We cannot replace one unreliable foreign supply chain with another and think it’s going to solve our problems.”
In mid-March, Manchin said he was “reluctant to go down the path of electric vehicles” because he’s “old enough to remember standing in line in 1974 trying to buy gas. I remember those days. I don’t want to have to be standing in line waiting for a battery for my vehicle because we’re now dependent on a foreign supply chain – mostly China.”
A downscaled version of the Build Back Better plan is expected to be produced in a few weeks, and Democrats hope Manchin will be more reasonable with their wishes. Last year, he was unwilling to support the “dead” version of the bill as the proposed EV tax credit offered $4,500 of the $12,500 if a vehicle was made at a Union facility. Manchin said it penalized automakers with non-unionized employees.
An energy conference on Tuesday solidified Manchin’s skepticism of EVs. “You don’t think that those charging stations, once we build them with taxpayer dollars, are going to be free, do you?” the Washington Examiner reported. “Who’s going to get the revenue?”
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