Senators debate what reducing carbon emissions means for the transportation industry
WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – As Congress seeks to pass a bipartisan infrastructure package, senators held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss a key issue: transportation technology.
Republicans and Democrats remain divided over the future of electric vehicles as one of the primary ways the transportation industry will reduce carbon emissions.
“We need to advance the technologies needed for the vehicles of the future,” said Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
He does not want the coal mining country to be left behind, saying he supports “the creation of $ 4 billion for exclusive use in coal mining communities, creating these jobs in areas that have experienced the greatest economic impact of the transition to a cleaner energy future “.
As automakers began to invest money in manufacturing more electric vehicles, Kelly Speakes-Backman, senior assistant secretary in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US Department of Energy, said said cutting their costs would be key to meeting President Joe Biden’s goal. of net zero emissions by 2025.
“It is important that electric vehicles are not just a luxury, but that they are the most affordable and accessible choice for all Americans,” said Speakes-Backman.
Republicans fear that the focus on electric vehicles will end up hurting consumers by driving up prices and cutting jobs.
“Too often regulation increases costs, punishes people,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Whose state economy relies heavily on the oil industry.
He argued that Biden’s plan chooses winners and losers.
“I’m afraid he wants to regulate the internal combustion engine,” Barrasso said.
“It seems counterintuitive to me,” agreed Senator Roger Marshall, R-Kan.
He said he doesn’t think electric vehicles have the power to move the combines and tractors that power the Midwestern economy.
“In the world I live in, we need power,” he said.
The Energy Department says it is researching not only electric vehicles, but also hydrocarbons and biofuels.