WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) expressed serious concerns regarding the Biden administration’s political selection process for hydrogen hubs at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing today. Despite being a strong candidate, Louisiana’s joint application with Arkansas and Oklahoma was passed over in favor of states with little or no history of hydrogen production and industry need/use.
“I’m worried the fix was in before it actually started,” said Dr. Cassidy. “When I look at why [Louisiana’s] application would not be accepted, I can’t help but notice that 11 of the 16 states are represented by Democratic senators, including states that don’t have a history of the production of hydrogen and other components such as Louisiana does. They don’t have existing infrastructure such as we [do]. And yet somehow, they managed to get a billion-dollar project. Tell me why I should have faith in this process.”
The Biden administration awarded $7 billion to establish hydrogen hubs in California, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas. Every successful application received an interview which the Department of Energy said was necessary to address gaps in the application. Louisiana did not receive an interview and there’s no evidence that the administration reviewed Louisiana’s application.
“You look at other places without our ecosystem, without our infrastructure, they did get it. That’s why I’m like ‘woah’ the place with all the infrastructure got one [hub] and it’s otherwise scattered around a lot of states disproportionately represented by Democrats,” added Dr. Cassidy.
In anticipation of the awards, the Department of Energy announced plans to use $1 billion to spur the use of hydrogen because the selected hubs do not possess the demand for this energy source. Louisiana exhibited demand greater than double the hydrogen that would be produced by the hub in their application.
Leadership from the Department of Energy would not commit to providing Cassidy with the ability to review all documents related to Louisiana’s application. In response, Cassidy plans to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get access and provide adequate oversight.