Biden’s EV agenda based on foundation that needs ‘desperate attention’

By Around the Web

Joe Biden poses in an electric Hummer on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Official White House photo)
Joe Biden poses in an electric Hummer on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Official White House photo)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire.]

By Rich Nolan
Real Clear Wire

The Biden administration has just supercharged the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. With its finalized tailpipe emissions rule, the administration expects that by 2032 70% of new U.S. car sales will be electric.

This lightning-fast transformation of the nation’s car fleet faces myriad challenges but perhaps none are greater than sourcing the minerals needed for millions of EVs and addressing the nation’s alarming reliance on Chinese-controlled mineral supply chains.

While the pivot to EVs may be the bellwether of the President’s economic and jobs agenda, the foundation from which he hopes to build our EV future needs desperate attention. The mineral supply chains needed to provide the irreplaceable materials for a homegrown EV industry all but don’t exist and there’s little progress to show in developing them.

Our minerals vulnerability is already a source of stunning economic and geopolitical leverage for our rivals. Of the 50 critical mineral commodities the U.S. Geological Survey lists as essential for U.S. economic and national security, China is the top producer or top supplier for 30. And with EV demand now set to soar, our deeply troubling overreliance on mineral imports and Chinese supply chains will deepen. Beijing is working to ensure it happens.

Just this week China initiated dispute settlement proceedings against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization to fight the Biden administration’s EV policies.

Unfortunately, the administration is proving more than capable of getting in its own way. Mining policy missteps are either directly contributing to our supply chain challenges or have hamstrung industry’s ability to combat them. With the stakes greater than ever, the administration needs a mining policy reset and time is of the essence. I believe the nation’s 383,000 hardrock miners can provide the answers we need, but only if given the opportunity to do so.

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Glaringly missing from the President’s call for a return to Made-in-America is an embrace of Mined-in-America.

Despite some notable steps to reshore mineral processing and to work with allied nations to bolster supply chain cooperation, the administration has in fact placed new obstacles in the way of a domestic mining renaissance when it should be doing just the opposite.

Along with land withdrawals and blocked mines, the Biden administration’s Interagency Working Group on mining — tasked with finding solutions to America’s minerals challenge — recommended upending the nation’s foundational mining law, overhauling how the nation governs mining, and imposing potentially an 8% royalty on miners along with a dirt tax that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The authors also, stunningly, rejected the need to accelerate mine permitting despite abundant evidence otherwise.

The report was so counterproductive it seemed the recommendations had been authored in Beijing—a blueprint to ensure China keeps a stranglehold on our mineral security.

Fortunately, bipartisan leaders in Congress have stepped up to oppose the most egregious of those proposals. But while peer nations, like Canada, are embracing a whole-of-government approach to spur new mining and accelerate the development of secure, reliable supply chains, it’s hard not to feel we’re instead moving in reverse.

It’s past time the Biden administration embraces American mining and our world-leading mining workforce. The mining industry can build the critical supply chains we need and provide a foundation for the pivot to our EV future. We have the resources – from lithium and nickel to copper and rare earths – to slash our reliance on foreign sources but it won’t happen if we’re forced to fight policy rather than benefit from it.

Rich Nolan is President and CEO of the National Mining Association. 

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

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