Governor attacks Biden’s EV policy at battery plant

Atlanta –

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp addresses President Joe Biden’s electric vehicle policy Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for a company that received more than $100 million to refine graphite for batteries under an infrastructure law signed by President Biden. escalating the attack.

“The electric mobility boom is happening in Georgia because the state is unrivaled for companies looking to invest, relocate, expand and innovate, with the federal government continuing to focus on scale and It’s not because they’re favoring a few companies “as a whole,” said Kemp, in his remarks prior to his talk at Anovion Technologies.

The remark was unusually partisan for a factory groundbreaking ceremony. Anovion’s $800 million investment promises 400 new jobs in rural Bainbridge, on the state’s southwest edge.

Georgia is the biggest beneficiary of the nationwide electric vehicle investment boom, with more than 40 electric vehicle-related projects pledging $22.7 billion in investment and 28,400 jobs in the state since 2020.

“If President Biden and others are to mistakenly take credit for Georgia’s success, remember that next year is an election year,” Kemp said.

The Republican governor planned the attack knowing that Democratic Senator John Ossoff would likely be present at the groundbreaking ceremony. Ossoff is Georgia’s most high-profile supporter of Biden’s electric-vehicle policy. The two are potential rivals for the 2026 Senate seat.

Ossoff argues that the Georgia investment boom would not have happened without Democratic policies.

“It’s strange to attend the groundbreaking ceremony and launch a political attack on the very policies that made it possible,” Ossoff told The Associated Press before the event. I was invited to the event but had no plans to speak. “The governor is throwing a panicked political tantrum over the success of federal manufacturing policies in his state.”

Mr. Kemp has always opposed anti-inflation laws that spend billions on electric car subsidies. In particular, he opposes domestic content standards aimed at improving the United States’ ability to produce clean energy. Tax incentives for electric vehicles apply only if the vehicle, battery, and primary raw materials for the battery are all manufactured in the United States.

Hyundai Motor Group, which is building a $5.5 billion electric car and battery assembly plant in Erabel, Georgia, near Savannah, argues the tax credit is unfair because its electric vehicles are currently ineligible. ing. Kemp referred to criticism of South Korean conglomerates in a speech Tuesday, saying “that approach just doesn’t work.”

Mr. Ossoff’s colleague, Democratic Senator Rafael Warnock, had suggested making the tax credit more flexible, but Mr. Ossoff stressed that Hyundai would also benefit if the Erabel plant started production.

Kemp said Rivian Automotive announced a $5 billion plant east of Atlanta in December 2021 and Hyundai announced in May 2022, both before Biden signed the anti-inflation bill. He said it would be a mistake to credit Mr. Biden for the economic boom.

Meanwhile, Kemp reiterated on Tuesday that he wants to make Georgia the “e-mobility capital of the country” as part of his second term legacy.

But Mr. Ossoff claims credit for Mr. Biden and Democrats, including the expansion of a solar panel factory in northwest Georgia.

Things got even more tense when Hyundai and LG Energy Solutions announced in May that they would build a $4.3 billion battery plant at Hyundai’s new complex. Ossoff aggressively promoted the news during Kemp’s stay in Israel, a move that angered some Kemp administration officials.

Mr. Kemp blamed state and local officials for Anovion’s choice of location, saying, “They don’t post, they don’t show off, they don’t try to steal your credit.”

Many Republican lawmakers are against electric cars, and the governor himself is in an embarrassing political position. A few weeks after Hyundai’s battery announcement, former President Donald Trump said at the Georgia Republican convention that he would end Biden’s electric car policy, to the cheers of the Columbus crowd, saying, “On my first day in office, I’m going to end it all. ‘ said.

Mr Kemp, who missed the convention out of frustration with state party leadership, tried to convince Republican lawmakers to cut ties with Mr Trump while the administration paid electric car makers billions of dollars. It has been opposed to the Democratic president who invested extravagantly. incentive.

“Unlike a top-down system like China’s or a system put forward by some at the federal level, we are not the ones determining how this growth happens,” Kemp said on Tuesday. “We are not picking winners and losers. We are driving this innovation and expansion to the market.”

But it’s hard to say that Anovion is simply a product of the market. The Chicago-based company’s Georgia plant will benefit from content standards that are boosting domestic demand for graphite and will produce synthetic graphite, a key ingredient in lithium batteries. Obtained a $117 million federal loan to build and improve the plant. And as part of the Inflation Control Act, they may be able to claim a federal tax credit of 10% on graphite production costs and 30% on factory investments.

“Manufacturing is coming back to America and coming to Georgia, just as we intended when we passed these infrastructure and manufacturing policies,” Ossoff said.

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