WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden urging him to employ his existing executive authorities to advance the development and widespread adoption of clean energy and energy-efficient electric technologies, such as heat pumps, in order to reduce demand for Russian fossil fuels, cut emissions, and save money for consumers in both the United States and allied countries.
In addition to ongoing efforts to pass climate justice and clean energy funding through Congress, the letter recommends that the President employ the Defense Production Act or authorities through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which have previously been used to provide humanitarian assistance to allies or ramp up domestic production and provide certainty to important U.S. sectors. Within the heat pump sector alone, a federal investment of $600 million over five years could help the United States develop 30 manufacturing plants and produce three million heat pumps a year by 2025. It is estimated that deploying an additional five million heat pumps could cut our demand for oil equivalent to nearly a third of the amount we import from Russia. The accelerated production and deployment of electric appliances will help reduce U.S. and European demand for Russian energy.
“In tandem with banning Russian fossil fuel imports, your administration could deploy existing authorities, including the DPA and military sales, to accelerate the production and deployment of electric appliances to help reduce U.S. and European demand for Russian energy,” wrote the senators in their letter to Biden. “With guaranteed federal contracts and other financial incentives, U.S. manufacturers will have the support they need to ramp up their production of electric heat pumps and key components—creating thousands of jobs, boosting local economies, saving money for consumers, reducing unhealthy emissions, and destroying President Putin’s oil and gas-based business model.”
Senator Heinrich, the founder and Co-Chair of the Electrification Caucus, has been a vocal advocate for the adoption of clean energy alternatives to secure American energy independence. Last week, Senator Heinrich participated in a virtual press conference to discuss addressing Vladimir Putin’s global energy price hike by accelerating our transition to clean energy and passing climate investments.
Earlier this month, Senator Heinrich authored an op-ed in The Hill with Rewiring America’s CEO Ari Matusiak calling on the U.S. to lead the widespread electrification of the appliances in our homes—and in the homes of our allies in Europe—to scale up new manufacturing opportunities, reduce dangerous climate warming pollution, achieve significant savings on our energy bills, and cut off any dependence on Russia’s hydrocarbons.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.