My commentary at Newsweek.com.
This week, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to expedite domestic production of solar panels. The move is yet another empty and cynical gesture camouflaging an increasingly evident and disturbing anti-America agenda.
According to press reports, the purpose of Biden’s DPA announcement was to increase domestic manufacturing of solar panels in order to increase U.S. energy security and independence and lower energy costs for Americans at a time of skyrocketing gas prices; the national average an unthinkable $5 a gallon this week.
Blah-blah-blah, as Greta Thunberg might say. The actual purpose of Biden’s invocation of the DPA was to roll back the Trump-era tariffs on Communist China-made solar panels.
Since 2005, China has invested $47 billion in its solar industry to become the dominant player in the global market. Communist China’s reliance on slave-labor and non-existent environment standards (irony alert!) have enabled it to produce the dirt cheap panels that have put at least 100 U.S. solar companies out of business over the years.
President Trump imposed tariffs on China to help U.S. manufacturers—but China responded by marking their panels as made in Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
Although the U.S. solar industry was able to petition the Biden Department of Commerce to launch an investigation of this dodge, as it turns out, that was another empty and cynical gesture; in announcing the use of the DPA, Biden also suspended the Trump tariffs while the Commerce investigation is proceeding (and likely never-ending).
Game. Set. Match. China.
But what about the DPA? Isn’t that going to boost U.S. manufacturers? No.
The DPA is a Cold War-era law meant to be invoked on essentially an emergency basis to promote the development of materials and services vital for the national defense. Biden’s invocation of it comes without funding and it will take an act of Congress to get funding.
So, Biden has given definite and immediate relief to Communist China, while leaving the U.S. solar industry to the whims of Congress, which has yet to take any action to boost domestic solar manufacturers.
Additionally, the U.S. government does not purchase solar equipment. It buys a lot of electricity from the grid, but none of that electricity is required to be produced by U.S. solar panels. Fixing that loophole would require another act of Congress, which has so far shown no interest in U.S. solar manufacturers.
The insincerity of the DPA invocation is also underscored by the fact that the Biden administration did not discuss any of this with a single U.S. solar manufacturer. What is the emergency or national defense angle to any of this?
When asked that question by the media at the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had no actual answer other than to mumble false platitudes. Jean-Pierre said the DPA invocations would “cut costs for American families, strengthen the power grid and tackle the climate crisis.”
All this of course is exposed as a lie by California, the state with the most solar power in the U.S. Despite all its solar, Californians pay 50 percent more for electricity than the average national price and California leads the national in blackouts.
None of this has made a dent in global emissions or atmospheric carbon dioxide, so it’s been wholly irrelevant in “tackling” the alleged “climate crisis.”
The Defense Production Act of 1950 states that “It is the intention of Congress that the President use this Act to promote the national defense…” But instead of doing that and strengthening America, Biden has used the DPA to help Communist China, a geo-political adversary we could be at war with at any time.
Steve Milloy is a senior legal fellow at the Energy and Environment Institute and publishes JunkScience.com.
June 11, 2022