Thirty-five years ago, I was a young business reporter for the Greenville News, covering real estate, banking, and economic development in the upstate and beyond.
At that time, the textile industry hung on the lint. The banking industry was in a savings and loan crisis. And all the work went abroad or in other states.
Today, South Carolina is leading and benefiting from the largest and most important economic transition in the history of the country.
That is, unless lawmakers in South Carolina and elsewhere kill it for politics.
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In Spartanburg, BMW is investing $1.7 billion to expand its plant to build electric vehicles, and is building a new battery plant in Woodruff for $700 million.
Chester County’s Albemarle Corp. has announced a new $1.3 billion lithium processing plant that will create 300 jobs to manufacture core materials for batteries used in electric vehicles.
In Blythewood, Volkswagen is reviving America’s automotive icons, the Scout SUV and pickup trucks, and is building a new electric vehicle plant that will employ more than 2,000 people.
In Colombia, Cirba Solutions is building another $300 million battery materials company that will create an additional 300 jobs. In Orangeburg, a new $33 million solar panel plant will create 200 jobs for him.
All these projects are done for a reason. It’s called the Federal Inflation Reduction Act, and it’s a sweeping policy aimed at moving the American economy toward a cleaner, more resilient future and making it more competitive in global markets.
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Since Congress passed the law last August, companies have announced more than 170 major clean energy projects across the country, representing nearly $80 billion in corporate investment and at least 60,000 new jobs. According to analysis by my organizationIncluding previous clean energy projects that have moved forward since the Act: Nearly 142,000 new jobs in progress – Nearly twice the total population of Greenville (2021).
Unfortunately, some lawmakers in Washington, including those in South Carolina, are trying to destroy the very policies that are creating all these jobs and economic growth.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a debt ceiling bill that would eliminate many of the anti-inflation laws and associated investment in manufacturing and tax credits, putting all these projects and their associated investments and jobs at risk. All South Carolina Republicans, including Upstate Rep. William Timmons, voted yes.
Republicans have pledged to repeal these job-creating policies, which Congress passed less than a year ago, not because they hurt the economy or the environment, or because they hurt America’s jobs or competitiveness, but simply because they are politically motivated. to do
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It is a pity. We send elected officials to Washington to help create jobs and grow our economy. Political battles must not kill us and our children’s promising new job opportunities.
Pass policies that will help the U.S. to become more competitive and stronger, not weaker, as China and the rest of the world gain momentum in the global race for a clean and resilient economy. I hope that
Lawmakers in South Carolina and elsewhere know that climate and clean energy policies passed in Congress last year are doing just that.
They should put partisan politics aside and let the state and its residents continue to reap the benefits.
-Bob Keef is the Executive Director of the National Nonpartisan Business Group E2and the author of the book “Climatology: Washington, Wall Street, and the economic struggle to save the planetHe was a business reporter for the Greenville News in the 1980s and also covered business and Washington for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.