Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a follow-up letter to the Department of Energy (DOE), once again demanding answers about a $200 million grant awarded to a company with direct ties to communist Chinese leadership. Lucas questioned whether DOE has sufficient guardrails in place to prevent taxpayer funds from being exploited by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

China currently produces 75% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries and has a stronghold on the materials needed for battery production. The U.S has only a 7% share of this market. The grant, announced in October, was one of 20 grants totaling $2.8 billion intended to strengthen America’s battery production and supply chain. DOE intends to award $7 billion in total through this initiative.

Lucas originally raised this issue in December in a letter to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Lucas reiterated his concerns with the Microvast grant, particularly given the company’s public disclosure that the Chinese Communist Party, “exerts substantial influence over the manner in which we must conduct our business activities and may intervene, at any time and with no notice."

This grant raised concerns about whether DOE is conducting due diligence when selecting grantees. “DOE has yet to provide any response to the Committee that explains the Department’s vetting process or demonstrates that sufficient guardrails are in place to ensure that companies that receive awards do not transfer funding or technology to China or are not subject to undue influence by the CCP,” Lucas wrote.

Lucas reiterated his request that DOE immediately pause any further funding or expenditures under this program, and asked the Department to provide all documents and communications related to these award selections.

The full letter is available here.

Read the oversight letter from December 7, 2022 here.