Georgia governor attacks Biden’s electric vehicle policy at federally backed battery plant

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is stepping up his attack on President Joe Biden’s electric vehicle policy, speaking on Tuesday at the grand opening of a company that has received more than $100 million for refine the graphite for the electric batteries of the infrastructure law signed by Biden.

“Georgia’s electric mobility boom is happening because our state is unrivaled for businesses looking to invest, relocate, grow, and innovate — not because the federal government continues to put its thumb in the balance, favoring a few companies over the industry as a whole,” Kemp said, according to remarks prior to his speech at Anovion Technologies.

The remarks are unusually partisan for a revolutionary factory. Anovion’s $800 million investment promises to create 400 new jobs in rural Bainbridge, in the far southwest of the state.

Georgia has been a major beneficiary of a nationwide electric vehicle investment boom, with more than 40 electric vehicle projects since 2020 promising $22.7 billion in investment and 28,400 jobs in the industry. ‘State.

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

The Republican governor planned this attack knowing that Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff would likely share his stage at the groundbreaking. Ossoff has been the most prominent supporter of Biden’s electric vehicle policy in Georgia. The two could be rivals for the Senate seat in 2026.

Ossoff argued that Georgia’s investment boom wouldn’t happen without Democratic policies.

“It’s bizarre to attend an inauguration and launch a political attack on the very politics that made the inauguration possible,” Ossoff told The Associated Press ahead of the event, where he was invited but not scheduled. for a speaking role. “Governor Launches Political Panic Attack Over Success of Federal Manufacturing Policies in His Own State.”

Kemp has always opposed the Cut Inflation Act, which funnels billions into subsidies for electric vehicles. He particularly disagrees with his national content standards, intended to increase America’s clean energy manufacturing capacity. They only offer electric vehicle tax incentives when the vehicle, battery, and key battery raw materials are all made in the United States.

Hyundai Motor Group, which is building a $5.5 billion factory to assemble electric vehicles and batteries in Ellabell, Georgia, near Savannah, said the tax credits were unfair because its electric vehicles are currently only not eligible. Kemp referenced criticism of the South Korean conglomerate in his speech on Tuesday, saying “this approach just doesn’t work.”

While Ossoff’s fellow Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock had proposed making the tax credits more flexible, Ossoff stressed that benefits will be available to Hyundai once the Ellabell plant begins production.

Kemp said it was wrong to credit Biden for the boom, noting that Rivian Automotive announced a $5 billion plant east of Atlanta in December 2021, while Hyundai announced in May 2022 the two before Biden signed the Cut Inflation Act.

For his part, Kemp said again on Tuesday that he wants to make Georgia the “electric mobility capital of the nation” as a legacy of his second term.

But Ossoff claimed credit for Biden and Democrats, including for the expansion of solar panel factories in northwest Georgia.

Things got tense when Hyundai and LG Energy Solution announced a $4.3 billion electric battery factory in May at Hyundai’s new complex. Ossoff trumpeted the news confidently while Kemp was in Israel, a move that angered some Kemp administration officials.

Kemp attributed Anovion’s choice of location to state and local authorities, saying “they don’t show up or show up, and they’re not trying to steal the credit.”

The governor himself is in a politically tricky position, with many Republicans opposing electric vehicles. Weeks after the Hyundai battery announcement, former President Donald Trump told the Republican convention in Georgia that he would scrap Biden’s electric vehicle policies, saying “First day in office, I will end everything this,” to the cheers of a crowd in Columbus.

Kemp, who did not attend this convention out of dissatisfaction with the party’s leadership, tried to persuade Republicans to break their love affair with Trump, while opposing a Democratic president whose administration has lavished billions on electric vehicle makers. incentives.

“Unlike top-down systems like China’s and those advocated by some at the federal level, we don’t dictate how this growth happens,” Kemp said Tuesday. “We don’t choose winners and losers. We let the market drive this innovation and expansion.

But it’s hard to say that Anovion is solely a creature of the market. The Chicago-based company’s Georgia plant will manufacture synthetic graphite – a key ingredient for lithium batteries – benefiting from content standards that are driving national demand for graphite. He secured $117 million in federal funding to build and improve factories. And he may be able to claim federal tax credits of 10% on graphite production costs as well as 30% on his investment in the plant, both part of the Tax Reduction Act. inflation.

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

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