September 24 – Energy Bill Protest

In June of 2022, the United States implemented a ban on all goods produced in China’s Xinjiang region. The United States had stated its reasoning for doing such deals with its assumption that forced labor is being practiced in the region. However, there is no solid evidence or proof of the aforementioned. Some Americans feel that this ban does not properly consider the impact that this will have on companies/businesses. Along with that, the U.S. will continue this ban until Xinjiang can definitely show they are not using forced labor to manufacture goods. [Xinjiang] is being asked to prove a negative, and that’s extremely difficult to do …” Said Ker Gibbs, Executive in Residence at the University of San Francisco. 40% of solar panel polysilicon is sourced from the Xinjiang region- also including 20% of the world’s cotton supply, and 13% of wind turbines. China has denied the accusations of forced labor, referring to it as the “ lie of the century.”

With so many American companies, and subsequently American people being affected by this ban, a group of protestors took the streets on September 24, 2022, in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC. Several citizens, spanning from the ages of 18-40 coincided and formed to voice their stances against the ban in very specific locations around the capital. They first began at the National Association of Energy Assistance Directors, standing in front of the building, chanting slogans and their displeasure with the newly started ban. As passersby also watched, they amped their efforts by walking through the streets of DC, chanting: “Solar, solar, you are not the controller”, noting that US citizens are the ones who truly are impacted by this ban, and should have the say/decision on what is right on their behalves. As they began to march, they were soon right outside of The White House, hosting banners that read: ‘Solar Panels are Paneless, Leave Them Alone. ’ and “Solar Panels Rock, Everything Else Kicks Dirt. ‘Individual protesters also fervently chanted while simultaneously holding posters that read: ‘I’m Getting Heated,- Leave My Solar Panels Alone.’

Many tourists and visitors watched in some-awe as many were shocked that the U.S. would put a ban on such essential goods needed by American companies. One tourist who was from France, walked up to a protester, and asked with a befuddled tone: “They’re against that here in this country?” Some speculate that the U.S. is taking measures to minimize China’s

influence/power in the world of new energy, as China is their greatest competitor in that field. “Global Energy transition investment in 2021, China’s investment reached $266 billion, followed by the United States,” according to Bloomberg.

Following the protesters’ stint at The White House, they made one more stop at the Solar Energy

Industries Association office building, rehashing the same views expressed at the prior two locations.

Though the U.S. finds its ban to be in seemingly good faith, the global supply chain has the potential to be deterred and negatively impacted by this decision. The view that the U.S. is in the light of human rights when looked at in s shallow view, but one could also question the political undertones of this decision. Are some blinded by politics and competition? If so, the globe, let alone America should not receive the ill-fated outcome of this ban. The U.S. government should reconsider the impact this has on a global scale, and whether or not the pros outweigh the cons in such an imposing decision as such. Clean energy production has been increasing rapidly, and this could stand in the way or even more growth.

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