A Possible Legal & Policy Blitzkrieg Against CleanTech

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Last month, most political and policy news focused pretty heavily on the impending government shutdown. The crisis was averted, and now Republicans are fighting amongst themselves over who their next leader in the House of Representatives will be. So, for most of us, Washington politics are now back on the back burner (where we’d like them to be). I mean, who wants to focus on the clown show politics has become? I’d much rather talk about cars, charging infrastructure, and solar panels myself.

And, if you’ve followed me for a while, you know I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m very much on board with EVs, clean energy, LGBT rights, reproductive freedom, and many other things Democrats tend to like and favor in policy debates more than Republicans. But, at the same time, I have things that I agree with the Republicans on, like the right to keep and bear arms, the idea that the private sector should lead energy and transportation policy as much as possible, and even some foreign policy ideas (at least before many Republicans became fans of Putin and Xi Jinping).

So, I hope what I’m about to write doesn’t fall on deaf ears because you think I’m some stooge for the other side that you don’t like. When I say that I think there’s a serious policy challenge for EVs and clean technologies coming, I’m not just trying to fearmonger about Republicans. When I talk about conservatives and Republicans, I’m not talking about some enemy that’s out to get us all. Much of my family and many friends, including people I care about very deeply, are in that category.

Please keep this in mind.

Project 2025

One thing that kept coming up in the news and getting promptly buried last month was Project 2025. There’s a great summary in video form here that I’d recommend you watch to understand it better, but I’d also recommend checking out the project’s website itself. I encourage readers to not take a liberal media figure’s word for what they’re reading, and go to the source, too.

At the core of Project 2025 is a book, over 900 pages in length, that details what the Heritage Foundation should do during the first six months of a Republican administration in 2025 (assuming, of course, that Republicans win). They’ve been writing these Mandate For Leadership books for over 40 years, and their first one was for the Reagan administration.

The idea is that instead of focusing on winning the election and then deciding what to do, that Republicans should come prepared for the White House on day one. Each chapter of the book covers a different federal agency or other aspect of the executive branch, and makes recommendations for action to score maximum victory for conservative causes of all kinds.

More importantly, these aren’t just the mad ravings of that annoying uncle at Thanksgiving dinner. They’re ideas carefully crafted by policy experts, lawyers, and political strategists. The recommendations are being drilled into the heads of a vast pool of potential hires that the next Republican administration can tap for hiring at all levels, so that everyone can start implementing them on day one, not year two or three.

If you’re wondering whether the things in the book will happen, keep in mind that the Reagan administration implemented over 60% of the organization’s recommendations (across over 3,000 pages that time) and the organization has only become more influential since then. So, you can bet that if the Republicans take office in 2025, there’s a good chance that they implement the vast majority of what’s mentioned in the book.

How impactful this would be depends heavily on whether Republicans also control congress. While the Heritage Foundation pushes the idea of Unitary Executive Theory, they also know that doing things like repealing the Infrastructure Bill and Inflation Reduction Act would require an act of congress.

But, many edgy plays that are questionably legal would be attempted. What the book doesn’t say (because they know people who oppose them would read it) is that the Republicans have a big majority on the Supreme Court and Trump appointees in many other judicial positions. So, doing things of questionable legality could still pay off if done early enough to get SCOTUS to approve it.

What They Want For CleanTech

I’d recommend reading the whole thing if you want to understand what would happen, as it affects many political and social issues that people care about. For example, it recommends basically defining as much pro-LGBT speech as pornography as possible and then declaring that pornography is not protected by the First Amendment. You’ll find similar plays for conservative causes all through it.

But, in this article, I’m going to briefly touch what they want to do to halt or slow the advance of clean technologies.

If they get all three branches of government, kiss the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Bill goodbye. They’re calling for a complete repeal, which would end EV tax credits, funding for EV charging stations, solar tax credits, home energy upgrade rebates (HEEHRA), and too many other pro-cleantech programs to list here. Poof! Gone.

If they don’t control congress, they’ve got plenty of other tricks up their sleeves for programs under those laws. The initial goal is to put as many political appointees as possible in as many places in the federal government as possible, and then tell them to throw wrenches in as many gears as they possibly can. They want to target any transfer of money that they can and slow or stop it, among many other things. Sure, you can sue them, but that would take years and end up in the Supreme Court.

Whether they control congress or not, they plan to target fuel economy standards at all levels using executive powers that haven’t been tested in court. Expect lowered fuel economy standards to make ICE more competitive. Expect California’s Clean Air Act waiver to get repealed again, and if they do it early enough, they’re already winding that case through the courts, so it’ll probably stick. This means the EV mandates in California and other states that follow them are gone, and there’s no place that can ban new ICE sales in 2035.

Sadly, this is just a few of the things they want to do. It’s a 900+ page book, and I’m only writing around 1,00o words at a time here. If last year’s Supreme Court cases taught you anything, it’s the fact that Republicans are playing for absolute keeps now. If you’re in a position to do anything to help clean technologies, it would be very irresponsible to not check into this further.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1994 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba