Chuck Grassley sees electric vehicles as threat, not opportunity

Tyler Granger is a field representative with the National Wildlife Federation in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

One interesting fact about Iowa: we were first to develop the electric car, more than a century ago. William Morrison of Des Moines invented the first electric car in the United States in 1890. That vehicle was a six-passenger carriage capable of reaching speeds of 14 mph.

The electric vehicle is older than U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, and Iowa’s electric vehicles would do a lot better if Grassley hadn’t abandoned Iowa’s renewable energy economy. Once a champion of renewable energy, Grassley is now the adversary to almost all renewable resources. 

Iowa’s senior senator is known for his odd style of Twitter. One recent tweet took a shot at electric vehicles.

Grassley’s tweet ignored the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator he voted to confirm, Andrew Wheeler, has been more than kind to the fossil fuel industry and has abandoned almost every Obama-era environmental protections.

What Grassley does not understand is that electric vehicles are not a threat, but an opportunity to create thousands of jobs while reducing our carbon footprint. It is understandable to be hesitant about technology, especially artificial intelligence and automation. However, the electric car is nothing new. What is new is the demand for cleaner vehicles. What is new is battery storage has grown tremendously over the last decade.   

Why is Grassley no longer a champion of renewable energy? Perhaps his staff has failed to inform him of the climate crisis as well as the advances in renewable technology. If American manufacturers don’t meet the global demand for electric vehicles, China or Europe will meet that demand. As a result, our country would miss out on thousands of jobs and hundreds of innovative renewable energy opportunities.

Electric vehicles don’t pose a threat to Iowa’s biofuel industry–President Donald Trump’s failed trade war does. It wasn’t electric vehicles that shut down biofuel plants across Iowa, it was the trade war, coupled with Wheeler tripling oil refinery waivers and catering to the fossil fuel industry. The EPA environmental rollbacks include gutting clean car standards, making America less competitive on the global stage for renewable vehicles. Those rollbacks hurt electric vehicle manufacturing but certainly don’t advance any biofuels or protect Iowa’s environment.

It wasn’t surprising when Grassley looked the other way when Trump was firing inspector generals, or when whistleblowers were being endangered. What was most surprising about Grassley over the last 4 years is him abandoning Iowa’s renewable energy economy. Up and down the renewable resource list is an industry that has taken hits from the federal government.

Climate change is here: we can see it in the melted polar ice caps and in the velocity of destruction from extreme weather. To avert disaster, we need 100 percent clean energy as well as renewable transportation. It’s up to us to communicate the urgency to Grassley and every elected official before it’s too late. 

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