Biden’s Anti-U.S. Mining Climate Agenda Is Making China Stronger
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland acknowledged Tuesday that the Biden administration’s climate agenda, which is reliant on global critical mineral supply chains, is strengthening China.
During a House Appropriations Committee hearing on her agency’s proposed 2024 budget, Haaland was repeatedly grilled about the administration’s environmental policies blocking further domestic production of critical minerals and opening the door to further reliance on Chinese-sourced minerals. [emphasis, links added]
In one exchange with Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., Haaland affirmed that green-energy sources “deepen” reliance on Chinese imports.
“I’m telling you right now that 63% of rare earth mining [occurs in China],” Reschenthaler stated. “By deductive reasoning, that would mean that electric vehicles and renewables deepen our reliance on China. Correct?”
“Yes,” Haaland responded.
Green energy technologies like electric vehicle batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines require a massive expansion of cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, graphite, zinc, and other mineral production.
According to an analysis from the International Energy Agency, an electric vehicle requires 500% more mineral resources than a traditional gas-powered car while a single onshore wind turbine plant requires 800% more minerals than a typical fossil fuel plant.
The vast majority of mining and processing of such materials, though, takes place outside the U.S., making the nation more reliant on foreign minerals despite its large domestic resources.
A White House report published in 2021 concluded that China alone controls more than half of all global rare earth mining capacity and a staggering 85% of rare earth refining capacity.
“The United States must secure reliable and sustainable supplies of critical minerals and metals to ensure resilience across U.S. manufacturing and defense needs, and do so in a manner consistent with America’s labor, environmental, equity and other values,” the report added.
However, the Department of the Interior, led by Haaland, has taken a number of actions to curb critical mineral production nationwide.
Earlier this year, Haaland finalized a 20-year ban on mining across 225,504 acres in a northern Minnesota forest area that contains vast critical mineral reserves, one year after revoking leases given to a mining firm in the region.
The area is home to about 88% of the nation’s cobalt reserves in addition to a large amount of copper, nickel, and platinum-group elements.
And a DOI subagency announced earlier this month that it would consider a separate 20-year mining ban across 20,574 acres near Rapid City, South Dakota, that contains lithium, gold, copper, and silver deposits.
Haaland’s agency has also blocked key mining projects in Arizona and Alaska.
“Whether it’s northern Minnesota, southern Arizona, Alaska, or now South Dakota, these sorts of land restrictions from the anti-mining Biden administration hamstring domestic development of minerals we need for national defense, energy technology, and everyday life,” Rep. Pete Stauber, R-Minn., the chairman of the House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Subcommittee, recently told Fox News Digital.
“We need to be using our resources we have here with our workforce, not taking them offline,” he continued.
Later in her exchange with Reschenthaler, however, Haaland denied that Biden administration policies were boosting Chinese supply chains at the expense of domestic alternatives.
“You just told me that your department banned critical mineral mining in Rapid Creek watershed and in northeast Minnesota. You also told me that we’re heavily dependent on China,” the Pennsylvania Republican said. “Would your actions not make us more heavily dependent on China?”
“No. Since 2021, the [Bureau of Land Management] has approved 20 new mines,” Haaland responded.
When asked later in the hearing whether the approved mines would produce critical minerals, the interior secretary said she was unsure.
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