Heating industry experts are raising the alarm after President Joe Biden unilaterally invoked the wartime Defense Production Act to pump taxpayer money into the manufacturers of electric heat pumps, enabling them to unfairly outcompete makers of natural gas or propane-powered residential heating systems.
According to Fox News, the White House and the U.S. Dept. of Energy said that the Biden Administration will award a “historic” $169 million to nine projects in 15 states to accelerate the production of electric heat pumps under the 1950 Defense Production Act (DPA).
In a press release from the DOE, Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks dutifully characterized the crippling Energy policy and direct interference with the economy as a National Security matter.
“Reducing America’s dependence on gas and oil is critical to U.S. national security,” Hicks said. “In conflict, fossil fuel supply lines are especially vulnerable. The actions President Biden announced today will help strengthen our supply chains and ensure that the United States is a leader in producing the energy technologies that are essential to our future success. They will also help accelerate DoD’s transition toward clean energy technologies that can help strengthen military capability while creating good jobs for American workers.”
Democrat operative John Podesta, Biden’s so-called clean energy czar, told Fox, “Today’s Defense Production Act funds for heat pump manufacturing show that President Biden is treating climate change as the crisis it is.” Ali Zaidi, Biden’s National Climate Advisor, added, “using his wartime emergency powers under the Defense Production Act to turbocharge U.S. manufacturing of clean technologies and strengthen our energy security.”
As explained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “The Defense Production Act is the primary source of presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of materials and services from the U.S. industrial base needed to promote the national defense.”
Senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute Ben Lieberman expressed alarm at the move from Biden.
“This is absolutely shameful corporate welfare. But we’re to believe that, because it’s for the sake of climate change, all is well. I think that’s ridiculous.
Of all the Biden administration’s claimed climate emergency declarations, this may be the craziest of them all,” he continued. “There is no shortage of heat pumps — it’s just that not every homeowner wants them. Consumers ought to decide for themselves. The government has no role in tilting the balance in favor of one energy source over another. That’s clearly what’s happening here.”
American Gas Association President and CEO Karen Harbert told Fox News, “Energy security is a top priority for AGA. We are deeply disappointed to see the Defense Production Act, which is intended as a vital tool for advancing national security against serious outside threats, being used as an instrument to advance a policy agenda contradictory to our nation’s strong energy position.”
“Increased use of natural gas has been responsible for sixty percent of the electrical grid’s CO2 emissions reductions,” Harbert added. “This vital tool for emissions reductions and energy system resilience should not be unfairly undermined through misuse of the Defense Production Act.”
The chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) criticized President Biden according to WRENews. “The purpose of the Defense Production Act is to expand the supply of materials and services to protect the American people, not to advance a political agenda,” Alicia Huey said. “Therefore, it is extremely disappointing that President Biden has elected to invoke the Defense Production Act in a blatant move to promote a policy agenda seeking to push American households towards electric heating in lieu of gas heating.”
She added that the administration, in acting on the contrived ‘climate crisis’ has ignored an actual one plaguing the American home construction industry. Huey explained that an ongoing “extreme shortage of distribution transformers that have prevented the construction of badly needed housing developments, exacerbated the nation’s housing affordability crisis and frustrated recovery efforts in communities hit by natural disasters.” Disaster recovery is one of the actual intended use cases for the Defense Production Act.
“NAHB has been calling on the administration to utilize the Defense Production Act to boost transformer output at existing facilities to address the growing supply chain crisis for distribution transformers that threatens the nation’s housing sector.” She concluded that she hopes Biden “will reassess his priorities and provide funding under the Defense Production Act to jumpstart the production of badly needed transformers across the nation.”