Energy & Environment

Eight senators ask Biden to reverse course on Trump-era solar tariffs

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) led a bipartisan group of eight senators Thursday asking President Biden not to extend Trump-era tariffs on imported solar panels.

The Section 201 tariffs, set to expire Feb. 6, have cost more than 62,000 American clean-energy jobs, according to the senators, citing the Solar Energies Industry Association (SEIA).

“[W]e believe that extending the tariffs will do nothing but add unnecessary costs to U.S. consumers, hurt American solar jobs, and artificially stymie the deployment of otherwise viable solar projects in the United States.” the senators wrote.

Both the Trump and Biden administrations have backed the tariffs despite opposition from the solar industry. On Friday, the administration appealed a court decision tossing out the tariffs.

In addition to Rosen, signers of the letter included Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

“At a minimum, we ask that you retain the Section 201 tariff exclusion for bifacial solar panels and not apply the tariffs to imported solar cells,” the group said. “Such actions will support good-paying jobs in the clean energy sector here in the United States and promote investments in clean, renewable energy at a time when our nation and our environment need them most.”

Rosen has vocally opposed the tariffs since their implementation in 2018, when she was a member of the House of Representatives. That year, she introduced legislation to repeal the tariffs, as well as leading a letter in December 2020 to the Biden transition team calling for the incoming administration to remove them.

SEIA has also urged the administration to let the tariffs expire, calling the appeal on Friday “another government misstep in this long and tortured saga [that] provides no benefit to the American workers, public, or clean energy goals.”

The Hill has reached out to the Office of the United State Trade Representative for comment.

Tags Brian Schatz Dianne Feinstein Jacky Rosen Jerry Moran Joe Biden Martin Heinrich Michael Bennet Sheldon Whitehouse solar panels solar tariffs Thom Tillis

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