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Renewable Energy Industry Readies Wish Lists for Joe Biden

11/27/2020 | 05:45am EST

By Gabriel T. Rubin

THE RENEWABLE ENERGY LOBBY gears up for a Joe Biden presidency much friendlier to their industry than the Trump administration. Within days of Biden's victory, the associations representing the solar and wind industries pushed out their detailed agenda wish lists for the new administration to immediately act upon, many of which don't require congressional action in what could be a divided government, depending on the outcome of the Georgia Senate runoffs.

The solar industry wants Biden to rescind tariffs on imported solar cells and modules, appoint solar-friendly members to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and push for renewable energy development on federal lands. The wind industry wants the federal government to raise its procurement targets for renewable energy and issue more permits for offshore wind farms. Both want to reinstate or create new tax credits that would boost their industries, but that would require congressional action. And there's a new player on K Street: the Zero Emission Transportation Association, a group that includes Tesla, Uber and Rivian, among others that will lobby for consumer incentives that will achieve 100% emission-free vehicle sales by 2030. The group launched this month. Biden supports new fuel-economy standards "aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero emissions," according to his campaign agenda.

The changing fortunes for the renewable energy sector under Biden are already coming into view: Renewable companies have seen their stocks rise following Biden's win, and General Motors this week dropped its alliance with the Trump administration on California's fuel economy rules as they pour billions into electric vehicles.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO SAYS he will keep pushing for broader sanctions on imports from China's Xinjiang province over China's treatment of Uighur Muslims even if legislation is stalled until after Biden's inauguration. A measure that would require companies to show "clear and convincing evidence" imports aren't made with forced labor sailed through the House 406-3 in September. A companion bill is held up over "technical language issues," the Florida Republican told The Wall Street Journal, plus the jam-up of legislation that may come during this lame-duck session.

The White House is also looking at a tougher ban, but Rubio says a law is necessary "to provide stability long-term." Apparel and other industries are lobbying against such measures. Looking beyond the lame-duck, Rubio has been initially critical of Biden's picks for his foreign policy and national security teams, saying they will leave the U.S. "dependent on China." Biden's campaign agenda said he would "speak out against the internment camps in Xinjiang and hold the people and companies complicit in this appalling oppression accountable."

HIAS, a more than century-old refugee and immigrant advocacy organization, gets a boost from Biden after years of Trump antagonism. The nonprofit has brought many of the most prominent immigration suits against the Trump administration, including a continuing case in federal court over the resettlement of refugees. This week, one of its board members, Alejandro Mayorkas, has been selected as Biden's nominee to run the Department of Homeland Security.

HIAS praised Biden's choice of Mayorkas, calling him "uniquely suited to rebuild public trust in the Department of Homeland Security" as a former refugee himself and as the architect of the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The litigation over refugee resettlement, based on a Trump executive order, will likely end after Biden is sworn in and is expected to rescind the policy allowing states and local governments to refuse to accept refugees.

GROVER CLEVELAND, the only U.S. president to serve nonconsecutive terms in office, gets extra attention following Trump's election loss and reports that he would consider running again in 2024. Google searches for Cleveland hit a 12-month high in the week following the election. Interest in the 1876 election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden -- widely considered one of the two most disputed elections ever, along with the 2000 Bush vs. Gore contest -- has also spiked, according to Google search data.

TRUMP HAS VETOED only eight bills during his term in office, the fewest of any president since Warren G. Harding, though Presidents Obama and Bush had just 12 each in two-term presidencies. Trump is also on track -- assuming he doesn't win another term in 2024 -- to become the first president since Lyndon B. Johnson to never have a veto overridden. There's a chance that could change during this lame duck period: Trump has threatened to veto the National Defense Authorization Act if it orders the military to rename bases named after Confederate generals. That legislation passed the Senate 86-14 in July.

MINOR MEMOS: Four Seasons Total Landscaping, site of Trump campaign legal team news conference, pleads with customers of its novelty merchandise to be patient as they deal with swarm of orders. ... Trump reflects on the existential dread of being a turkey in November: "Thanksgiving is a very special day for turkeys, but not a very good one when you think about it."... Louisiana-born nominee for ambassador to the United Nations unveils her doctrine of "Gumbo Diplomacy."

Write to Gabriel T. Rubin at gabriel.rubin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-27-20 0544ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALPHABET INC. -0.19% 1727.62 Delayed Quote.-1.43%
GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY -3.03% 49.97 Delayed Quote.20.00%
TESLA, INC. -2.23% 826.16 Delayed Quote.17.07%
US DOLLAR / TURKISH LIRA (USD/TRY) 0.50% 7.4987 Delayed Quote.0.48%
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