Charleston, WV (WVDN) — Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee, refuted claims made by Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of the ENR Committee, and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Chair of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in a misleading report about the Inflation Reduction Act.
“As a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, we are now producing more energy than ever before in our nation’s history. Our natural gas annual production hit a record 36 trillion cubic feet in 2022 and is expected to exceed 37 trillion in 2023. We’re expected to produce 4.6 billion barrels of oil annually in 2023 which would be the highest annual production ever. We exported nearly zero liquefied natural gas in 2016; today our LNG export capacity is more than 13 billion cubic feet per day and by the end of this decade, we’ll be approaching 25 bcf/d. And, we’re projected to add more than twice as much solar and battery storage capacity this year than last year,” said Chairman Manchin. “My Republican friends even cited the IRA favorably in an Amicus Brief to win a case that would have altered the terms of offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 261. My Republican friends wrote, ‘The IRA was the result of considerable deliberation concerning the economic, energy, environmental, and strategic interests of the United States,’ and ‘The IRA balances diverse, complex, and overlapping considerations including growth and conservation, domestic needs and global positioning, and security and diplomacy.’ It makes no sense just one month later that my Republican colleagues no longer realize that the IRA provides us with an all-of-the-above energy policy with everything we need to be energy independent and secure. I will continue to work, as always, in a bipartisan way with my colleagues while I continue to push back on this Administration’s efforts to implement the IRA as a radical climate agenda, but I will also push back on my Republican colleagues who refuse to see the benefits this law is already bringing to each and every state in the United States of America.
Key claims from the report are refuted below:
Oil & Gas:
- The report claims the IRA is designed to transition the U.S. away from fossil fuels. In fact, the IRA requires continued fossil fuel production.
- First, it required the Biden administration to issue all 308 leases from November 2021’s offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 257. Leases were issued in September 2022, with nearly $192 million in high bids.
- Second, it required the administration to hold the three offshore lease sales that were previously cancelled in early 2021.
- Third, it links renewable development with fossil development by restricting renewable leasing on federal lands and waters unless a minimum amount of oil and gas leasing occurs. When the administration recently announced 3 future offshore oil and gas lease sales, it stated it was doing so because the IRA required these oil and gas in order to continue renewables development.
- Senator Barrasso, who authored this report, and 9 other Republicans recently praised oil and gas provisions of the IRA in an amicus brief in litigation related to offshore oil and gas Lease Sale 261. They stated that the IRA “balances diverse, complex, and overlapping considerations including growth and conservation, domestic needs and global positioning, and security and diplomacy.”
- America is on track to produce record oil & gas in 2023. According to the non-partisan U.S. Energy Information Administration the United States is on track to break records: oil production, natural gas production, natural gas exports, crude oil exports, and petroleum product exports are all at the highest levels in history. These trends are already lowering prices: this winter the U.S. Energy Information Administration anticipates that natural gas bills will decrease and households will spend less on energy.
- The report claims that the IRA will increase America’s reliance on China. In fact, the IRA for the first time ties EV tax credits to sourcing components domestically and with our free trade partners. It also created the 45X advanced manufacturing production tax credit to onshore the supply chain even further, among other provisions.
- Per the International Energy Agency: “Between August 2022 and March 2023, major EV and battery makers announced cumulative post-IRA investments of USD $52 billion in North American EV supply chains, of which 50% is for battery manufacturing, and about 20% each for battery components and EV manufacturing. Overall, company announcements including tentative commitments for US investments for future battery and EV production add up to around USD $75-$108 billion.” We are building capacity on the front end to do all of this here in the U.S. (https://iea.blob.core.
windows.net/assets/dacf14d2- eabc-498a-8263-9f97fd5dc327/ GEVO2023.pdf)
- We all agree that America is too reliant on China for our supply chains, but unlike the Republicans’ report, the IRA actually does something about this.
Jobs, Manufacturing, Macroeconomic Trends
- The report claims the IRA has not created jobs but offers minimal support for that assertion. According to a Bank of America report, just since passage of the IRA, newly announced projects have created in over 86,000 reshoring and foreign direct investment jobs. A BGA/UMass study says the IRA will create 9 million jobs.
- Compared to just 4-5 years earlier, there is nearly 20 times more expenditure in clean manufacturing investment in the U.S. – now $39B, up from $2B in 2018/2019 according to Rhodium.
- In September 2023 (the month before this report) alone, IndustrySelect reports seven new energy manufacturing plants across the US (source). The figures for August (6 facilities), July (6 facilities), and June (7 facilities) are no less impressive
- We are witnessing a massive spike in construction investment for manufacturing. This is nearly 9 times more construction spending in manufacturing than we had 20 years ago.
- The report cites the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook several times as evidence that the IRA is not producing the intended effect, but EIA announced earlier this year that it needed to make changes to this model before it could adequately account for the effects of the IRA.
- The report claims the IRA will not reduce consumer costs, despite substantial evidence to the contrary.
- IRA is saving seniors money on healthcare:
- The IRA reduces energy prices for consumers:
- According to the Electric Power Research Institute, households will save as much as $370 annually by 2035.
- The Brookings Institution found that lower electricity prices and lower healthcare costs will reduce inflation.
- The report makes nonsensical arguments on Electric Vehicles: “The EV subsidies in IRA will distort the American automobile market and deny many Americans the freedom to buy the vehicle that best suits their needs. The average electric car costs $62,000. That’s $16,000 more than a gasoline-powered vehicle. The steep price tag is a major reason dealers recently were sitting on a 92 day inventory of electric cars—almost twice that of conventional cars.”
- If the markets were so distorted that the low price of EVs was driving combustion vehicles out of the market, wouldn’t EVs need to be cheaper?
- In fact, the IRA restricted eligibility for EV tax credits compared to prior years, adding restrictions to require critical minerals sourcing from North America or free trade agreement partners, require
manufacturing and assembly in North America, and set MSRP and income limitations.
- The excess inventory demonstrates that consumers continue to have a choice when it comes to what car they drive.
- The report claims that the financial incentives included in the IRA will stoke inflation, but does not substantiate that claim with any actual reports or projects. The facts from the Federal Reserve show inflation shrunk by more than half since the IRA was passed. Reports from Moody’s and Brookings
show downward pressure on inflation from the IRA.
- The report cherry-picks one cost estimate for the bill—from Goldman Sachs (GS), rather than official estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.
- The CBO recently scored the IRA energy tax credits at $570B.
- GS makes unrealistic
assumptions when it comes to EV development. For example, they estimate the EV share of the total fleet by 2030 to be at 20%, 75% by 2040, and 100% by 2050. Today EV’s comprise less than 10%, which is the result of years of a $7,500 tax credit without the manufacturing, assembly, MSRP, or income limitations added in the IRA.
- The disclaimer on the front page of the GS report notes that GS does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports, and that as a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of the report.
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