In an unexpected action Friday, President Biden invoked a Cold War-era statute to inject government cash into American production of electric heat pumps, an alternative to gas-powered household furnaces.
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced a “historic” $169 million award for nine projects across 15 locations worldwide in an effort to speed electric heat pump production in a joint statement with the White House.
Biden was able to get such a large sum of money by utilizing the 1950 Defense manufacture Act (DPA) to enhance domestic manufacture of green energy technology.
According to the American Gas Association, wartime legislation is “being used as a tool to advance a policy agenda contrary to our nation’s strong energy position.”
“Getting more American-made electric heat pumps on the market will help families and businesses save money with efficient heating and cooling technology,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “These investments will create thousands of high-quality, good-paying manufacturing jobs and strengthen America’s energy supply chain, while creating healthier indoor spaces through home-grown clean energy technologies.”
“Today’s Defense Production Act funds for heat pump manufacturing show that President Biden is treating climate change as the crisis it is,” added John Podesta, the White House clean energy czar. “These awards will grow domestic manufacturing, create good-paying jobs, and boost American competitiveness in industries of the future.”
Biden’s national climate advisor, Ali Zaidi, claimed the president was “using his wartime emergency powers under the Defense Production Act to turbocharge U.S. manufacturing of clean technologies and strengthen our energy security.”
The DOE will transfer millions of dollars to firms such as Copeland, Honeywell International, Mitsubishi Electric, and York International Corporation, all of which are billion-dollar global corporations, under the moves announced on Friday. The initiatives will help to develop the manufacture of industrial, commercial, and residential heat pumps.
“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,” Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“Of all the Biden administration’s claimed climate emergency declarations, this may be the craziest of them all,” Lieberman 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.”
The Biden administration’s move comes less than two months after the DOE released new restrictions aimed at traditional residential gas-powered furnaces as part of its climate agenda and broader push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The revised regulations, which are set to take effect in 2028, expressly require furnaces to attain an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of 95%, implying that manufacturers would only be permitted to sell furnaces that convert at least 95% of fuel into heat within six years. For a home furnace, the current market standard AFUE is 80%.
Because of the strict AFUE criteria, the legislation would effectively phase out non-condensing gas furnaces, which are often less efficient but less expensive. However, households who replace their non-condensing furnace with a condensing furnace after the law goes into effect would incur significant installation expenses.
“Energy security is a top priority for AGA,” American Gas Association President and CEO Karen Harbert also told Fox News Digital on Friday. “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,” she continued. “This vital tool for emissions reductions and energy system resilience should not be unfairly undermined through misuse of the Defense Production Act.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, the Cold War-era Defense Production Act (DPA) grants the president considerable authority to influence domestic business “in the interest of national defense.” Invoking the legislation grants the president access to hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds for a specific national security reason.
Biden previously used the DPA to expedite domestic essential resource extraction and to halt tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports, saying that climate change is a national emergency.
The frequent invocation of “national emergencies” to assume wartime powers in order to push political agendas is a common feature of fascist regimes.