WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee adopted an amendment offered by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) that would prohibit the import of solar cells, wind turbines, or energy storage equipment or components into the United States until it can be certified by the United Nations that the components and manufactured equipment is not mined or manufactured using forced labor or child labor.
“There is extensive documentation of inhumane labor practices including child slave labor in countries from which the U.S. sources components for renewable energy and energy storage technologies. It is unamerican for the U.S. to endorse the use of child slave labor. Glad to see this amendment pass,” said Dr. Cassidy.
This amendment was also cosponsored by U.S. Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Steve Daines (R-MT).
The technologies this bill promotes are sourced from countries with long histories of both forced labor and child labor. On May 24, 2021, The New Yorker reported on “The Dark Side of Congo’s Cobalt Rush.” The article says that in the Congo, “children as young as three learn to pick out the purest ore from rocks slabs” and “children who work in the mines are often drugged, in order to suppress hunger.” On May 23, 2021, the Deseret News reported on slave labor in the cobalt mines in the Congo quoting a Congolese mother saying “our children are ‘dying like dogs.’” Earlier this month, BBC published an article about an investigation that found solar panels being imported into the United States from China were the result of forced labor by an imprisoned Uyghur population.