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GOP probes Granholm’s green energy PR stunt gone wrong

By Jake Beardslee · September 27, 2023

In brief…

  • House Republicans are probing a taxpayer-funded EV publicity trip by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last summer.
  • During the trip, Granholm's staff blocked an EV charging station for her with a gas-powered car, angering a waiting family.
  • Granholm confirmed that the caravan blocked other EVs from charging and blamed her staff.
Republicans are probing Sec. Jennifer Granholm's (above) taxpayer-funded EV road trip, including when she blocked a family from a charging station.  U.S. Department of Energy/Wikimedia

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) and House Energy Subcommittee Chair Pat Fallon (R-TX) are investigating an electric vehicle publicity trip taken last summer by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, which was funded by taxpayer dollars.

In a letter to Granholm on Tuesday, the GOP lawmakers called the four-day excursion from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Memphis, Tennessee, in a Cadillac Lyriq a “publicity stunt” showing how “out of touch” the Biden administration’s green energy policies are.

During the trip, Secretary Granholm’s staff used a gas-powered vehicle to block off an EV-only charging station so she could stay on schedule, as the route “lacked fast, reliable, and available chargers,” according to an NPR journalist who traveled with Granholm.

This caused a Georgia family with an infant and a low EV battery charge to call the police while waiting at the charging station on a “sweltering” hot day.

When asked about the trip in a recent Congressional hearing, Granholm blamed her staff for “poor judgment,” but confirmed her caravan had blocked other EVs from charging.

The Republican lawmakers said the trip was “intended to draw attention to the billions of dollars the White House is pouring into green energy and clean cars.” Yet they noted Granholm “relied upon [internal combustion engine] vehicles using gasoline to try to boost the charade of the effectiveness of green energy” at every stage of the journey.

The lawmakers also suggested Granholm’s avoidance of Tesla vehicles was “politically motivated” against CEO Elon Musk. They then noted the ongoing United Auto Workers strike over EV-related job losses. President Biden joined UAW picketers in Michigan Tuesday en route to a campaign fundraiser in California.

In April, the Biden administration proposed new auto pollution standards that would mandate a major increase in electric vehicle production over the next decade.

“Your fleet of EVs could not complete the trip without the support of the fossil fuel industry, which you and the Biden Administration have been intent to vilify and destroy,” the Republican chairmen wrote.