FIRST ON FOX: A coalition of 17 retired military officials — including multiple one-, two-, and three-star officers — are raising the alarm on President Biden’s aggressive electric vehicle (EV) push over its national security implications.
In a letter addressed to Biden and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, the officials led by retired U.S. Army Major General James Marks warned that the president’s plans for mass EV proliferation will increase reliance on Chinese supply chains. They wrote that regulatory initiatives aimed at incentivizing EV adoption “intensify America’s vulnerability to political interference by the Chinese Communist Party.”
“There is no doubt EVs will play a significant role in diversifying America’s transportation systems. Yet we believe your plans will rush our transition to EVs before the infrastructure necessary to support it is in place,” the officials wrote. “This trajectory will only position the U.S. to become more reliant on China for critical minerals and manufacturing that are necessary for the rapid expansion of EV markets this administration envisions.”
“And even more concerning is the fact that this reliance hinges upon China’s goodwill to export those minerals and manufactured goods to the U.S.,” the letter continued. “This will undoubtedly open the U.S. up to economic manipulations by China, identical to what Russia is doing with Ukrainian grain exports, and a major threat to our national security. We do not believe now is the time for us to make ourselves vulnerable to such easy political pressures.”
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President Biden makes his entrance at General Motors’ Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, on Nov. 21, 2021. (Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
The officials took particular issue with the EPA’s April 2023 proposal to implement the most aggressive tailpipe emissions ever crafted. If finalized and implemented, a staggering 67% of new sedan, crossover, SUV and light truck; up to 50% of bus and garbage truck; 35% of short-haul freight tractor; and 25% of long-haul freight tractor purchases could be electric by 2032, the EPA projected.
The White House said at the time that increasing emissions standards for gas-powered cars would indirectly incentivize the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and provide a “clear pathway for a continued rise in EV sales.” Biden previously set a goal of ensuring 50% of car purchases are electric by 2030.
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Marks and the 16 other retired military officials noted that EVs are largely dependent on components made in China and raw materials processed in China.
Workers assemble electric vehicles at a factory in Yuncheng, Shanxi Province of China, on March 28, 2023. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
“At a nearly tenfold increase over current electric vehicle sales, this proposed rule is a clear example of tone-deaf policymaking that favors the geopolitical advantages currently held by China in this market,” they continued in their letter.
“We would be exposing our economy and national security interests if we consciously link America’s economic and transportation stability to the enterprise of a country you yourself described as an economic ‘ticking time bomb,’” they said.
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According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) China produces about 75% of all lithium-ion batteries, a key component of EVs, worldwide. The nation also boasts 70% of production capacity for cathodes and 85% for anodes, two key parts of such batteries.
In addition, more than 50% of lithium, cobalt and graphite processing and refining capacity is located in China, the IEA data showed. Those three critical minerals, in addition to copper and nickel, are vital for EV batteries. Chinese investment firms have also been aggressive in purchasing stakes in African mines in recent years to ensure a firm control over mineral production.
President Biden talks to EPA Administrator Michael Regan during an environmental justice ceremony at the White House last year. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
At the same time, the officials additionally noted that, in August, China imposed new restrictions on the exports of gallium and germanium, two additional minerals used in EV batteries, causing prices to rise.
China’s strategic positioning in the EV industry must be addressed, according to the letter, before the U.S. moves ahead with electrification strategies and regulations that will “artificially increase EV demand.”
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In addition to Marks, retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert Harward, retired U.S. Marine Corps Major General Mastin Robeson, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral James Carey, retired U.S. Air Force Major General Bentley Rayburn, and retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General E.G. Shuler also signed onto the letter along with retired colonels, captains, commanders and majors.
The EPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.