Biden electric vehicle plan creates environmental danger with discarded batteries, ex-EPA boss says

"Every single energy source has positives and negatives, and nobody ever looks at the negatives of renewable energy," Andrew Wheeler said, warning old batteries from electric cars pose a massive problem.

Published: October 28, 2021 11:18am

Updated: October 29, 2021 12:32am

President Biden's climate change plan for electric vehicles and renewable energy sources will harm the environment, warns Andrew Wheeler, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Trump.

"[W]e don't know what we're going to do with the disposal of these windmills or solar panels," the latter of which "in particular, have hazardous materials in them," Wheeler told the John Solomon Reports podcast Thursday.

While he said he's all for using renewable energy technologies such as windmills, solar power, and electric vehicles, the issue is that there's not yet a sustainable plan for the waste they produce.

"Every single energy source has positives and negatives, and nobody ever looks at the negatives of renewable energy, and we have to have as a country if we're going to push what Joe Biden wants to do," Wheeler said. "[H]e wants to have 50% electric vehicles by 2030."

"Right now, when you trade in your old [electric vehicle] battery, most of them are just going to warehouses and sitting in warehouses until we perfect technology to dispose of them," Wheeler explained. "And those chemicals can leach into the groundwater — we're sitting on potential Superfund sites that we're creating today that are going to plague us for the next generation if we don't do something about it." 

Wheeler mentioned that the U.S.'s coal-fired power plants are 95% cleaner today than they were 30-40 years ago, and natural gas methane emissions have been reduced by 15%.

Biden is "really trying to discourage the exploration and production of natural gas here in the United States," he said. "We do it much cleaner than anywhere else in the world, we're going to be continuing to use natural gas."

If the U.S. doesn’t use its own natural gas, it'll be importing the resource from other countries, like Russia, and "when you transport natural gas halfway around the world, that's a huge carbon footprint, just that transportation alone," said Wheeler.

China, where some companies produce more pollution than entire nations, is "not held accountable for anything that they do," Wheeler lamented.

"[M]ore mercury is deposited in the United States from coal-fired power plants in China than was deposited here by our coal-fired power plants, because mercury goes up into the atmosphere, and it can circle the globe," he added.

Wheeler called for a conservative approach to environmentalism that focuses "on community-based environmentalism — where people live — getting the Superfund sites cleaned up where people live."

Superfund sites are places that have been contaminated by hazardous waste that the EPA goes to to clean up.

"It's not the command-and-control approach that the Democrats have favored over the last few decades," he emphasized. It's "more working with people. People want a clean environment."

When he was at the EPA, Wheeler recounted, he "had the presence of all 50 farm bureaus from all 50 states at the EPA headquarters," most of whom "had never been invited to the EPA before."

"[T]hey're not just part of the solution, they are the solution," he said. "Farmers are the first conservationists, and they don't want to do anything to disturb the land because that's how they make their livelihood. So it's working with people in the communities where they live."

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