Talking head laughs in Buttigieg’s face after he glosses over the Biden admin’s epic failure

News & Politics

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was recently asked about one of his boss’ unrealistic green schemes, namely the installation of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. His answer prompted CBS’ Margaret Brennan to laugh in his face.

Apparently keen to keep the laughs coming, Buttigieg subsequently blamed airline turbulence on climate change.

Only 499,992 to go

Ahead of the 2020 election, then-candidate Joe Biden
promised the American people in four debates and during his CNN town hall interview that he would build half a million new charging stations across the nation if elected.

After taking the White House, Biden reiterated his promise,
stating in November 2021, “We’re going to build out the first-ever national network of charging stations all across the country — over 500,000 of them. … So you’ll be able to go across the whole darn country, from East Coast to West Coast, just like you’d stop at a gas station now. These charging stations will be available.”

That month, the then-Democrat-controlled Congress passed a corresponding $1 trillion infrastructure package. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 18 other Republican lawmakers, evidently unswayed by former President Donald Trump’s critiques, subsequently
helped Democrats pass the measure in the U.S. Senate.

Of the 1,000 billion taxpayer dollars sunk into the bill, $73 billion was designated for updating the nation’s electricity grid so it could carry more renewable energy and $7.5 billion to build Biden’s promised EV charging stations by 2030.

According to the EV policy analyst group Atlas Public Policy, the funding designated for the rollout should be enough for at least 20,000 charging spots and 5,000 stations.

Now years into the scheme, it appears increasingly unlikely that Biden’s costly promise will materialize.

In March, the Federal Highway Administration confirmed to the Washington Post that only seven of Biden’s
planned 500,000 EV charging stations were operational, amounting to a total of 38 spots for drivers in Hawaii, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to charge their vehicles.

Politico
noted last year that that a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study estimated the country will need 1.2 million public chargers by 2030 to meet the demand artificially created by the Biden administration’s climate agenda and corresponding regulations. As of June 2023, there were roughly 180,000 chargers nationwide.

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and other Republican lawmakers
penned a February letter to Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, expressing concerns that “American taxpayer dollars are being woefully mismanaged.”

Over the weekend, Margaret Brennan pressed the issue further in conversation with the Biden DOT secretary on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Laughable

“Let me ask you about a portion of this that I think does fall under your portfolio, and that’s the charging stations you mentioned. The Federal Highway Administration says only seven or eight charging stations have been produced with a $7.5 billion investment that taxpayers made back in 2021,”
said Brennan. “Why isn’t that happening more quickly?”

“So the president’s goal is to have half a million chargers up by the end of this decade. Now, in order to do a charger, it’s more than just plunking a small device into the ground. There’s utility work, and this is also really a new category of federal investment.”

“But we’ve been working with each of the 50 states,” continued Buttigieg. “Every one of them is getting formula dollars to do this work.”

Brennan leaned in and asked, “Seven or eight, though?”

“Again, by 2030: 500,000 chargers,” responded Buttigieg.

Brennan laughed at Buttigieg’s suggestion, evidently unable to conceal her disbelief in the possibility that another 499,992 chargers could be installed and operational inside the next six years.

“And the very first handful of chargers are now already being physically built. But again, that’s the absolute very, very beginning stages of the construction to come,” added Buttigieg.

Despite the Biden administration admittedly being at the “very, very beginning stages,” it is nevertheless trying to get gas-consuming cars off the streets and replacing them with EVs that will all rely on the handful of existing charging stations.

In March, the administration announced a rule that would limit the amount of exhaust permitted from cars such that by 2032, over half of the new cars need to be so-called zero-emissions vehicles,
reported the New York Times.

Keeping it light

While short on satisfactory answers, Buttigieg still had plenty of alarmism to go around.

The DOT secretary told Brennan, “The reality is the effects of climate change are already upon us in terms of our transportation. We’ve seen that in the form of everything from heat waves that shouldn’t statistically even be possible threatening to melt the cables of transit systems in the Pacific Northwest, to hurricane seasons becoming more and more extreme, and indications that turbulence is up by about 15%.”

A
study published last year in Geophysical Research Letters suggested that clear-air turbulence “is predicted to become more frequent because of climate change,” claiming that the strongest category of clear-air turbulence was 55% more frequent in 2020 than in 1979.

Brennan pressed Buttigieg on whether the kind of extreme turbulence experienced last week by Singapore Airlines flight SQ321, which was traveling from London to Singapore, would soon become more common in the United States.

“To be clear, something that extreme is very rare. But turbulence can happen and sometimes it can happen unexpectedly,” said Buttigieg. “This is all about making sure that we stay ahead of the curve, keeping aviation as safe as it is.”

The “Face the Nation” interview was slapped with a community note on X, noting that
National Transportation Safety Board data “shows there is no rising trend in aircraft turbulence incidents.”

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