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WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden's Push for Securing Sustainable US Critical Minerals Supply Chain Wins Praise from Environmental Groups

February 23, 2022

President Biden's announcement yesterday of progress and action for sustainable domestic production of critical minerals and materials earned praise from environmental groups as a key step towards a clean energy future.

Key groups lauded Biden for pushing for greater domestic production of elements like lithium and rare earth elements, which are disproportionately sourced from foreign sources and are critically important for producing the batteries, wind turbines and solar panels drive the clean energy economy.

Additionally, Biden released Administration fundamental principles for mining reform, which won praise for ensuring that any mining of these materials is conducted under the highest environmental and labor standards and benefit local communities.
Read what they are saying below:

Environmental Groups

National Wildlife Federation Senior Director of Western wildlife David Willms: "We applaud the Biden Administration's commitment to furthering our nation's energy independence as we transition to a clean energy economy. Critical minerals play a key role in that transition so it is vital that the United States remain a leader in the responsible sourcing and recycling of those minerals. We urge the administration to work with Congress for stronger safeguards for wildlife, vulnerable communities, and our public lands and waters in domestic mineral production and for the highest labor standards for the many new jobs that will be created." [Statement, 2/22/22]

Bluegreen Alliance Executive Director Jason Walsh: "The United States relies on other countries—in many cases economic rivals or nations with shockingly poor environmental and labor conditions—to access many of the critical minerals and materials we need to drive the clean economy. That needs to change. We need strategies to create jobs in America, generate a clean, more secure, and sustainable energy supply chain, and elevate the United States as a global leader in the industry. The investments announced today will put us on the path to environmentally, economically, and socially responsible mining, reclamation, and recycling of these minerals and materials." [Statement, 2/22/22]

Earthworks: "Today the Biden Administration announces major initiatives to reduce demand for irresponsible mining and promote a more just, fair, and equitable materials transition. These actions are in response to President Biden's Executive Order 14017, "America's Supply Chains", which calls for an aggressive approach to mineral recycling, an overhaul of the archaic General Mining Law of 1872, and rules to help ensure that any mining is conducted according to the strongest environmental and labor standards—and only after the free, prior and informed consent of affected communities and Tribal communities." [Statement, 2/22/22]

Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Blaine Miller-McFeeley: "President Biden's commitment to mining reform will begin the process of establishing strong responsible mining standards that protect Indigenous sacred sites and iconic environmental treasures from the threats of destructive mining, while prioritizing reusing and recycling existing materials to help us meet critical mineral demands for the clean energy transition. For too long, Indigenous communities have borne the disproportionate impacts of the mining industry's destructive practices, and the time has come for the U.S. government to truly respect the sovereignty of tribal nations and prevent mining in special places. In places where mining must occur, these principles, if appropriately implemented, will recognize the need for meaningful tribal consultation and engagement with all impacted communities to ensure that mining proceeds in the most sustainable way possible — not under antiquated laws from 150 years ago." [Statement, 2/22/22]

Center for Biological Diversity Attorney Allison Melton: "It's encouraging that the Biden administration is emphasizing recycling and updating the country's dangerously outdated mining rules. For generations the mining industry has been allowed to inflict irreparable harm on Indigenous communities, our public lands and watersheds. We fully support the administration's prioritizing rules that set commonsense standards and empower agencies to prevent these injustices from ever happening again." [Statement, 2/22/22]

Clean Energy for America Executive Director Andrew Reagan: "President Biden made a commitment to move the nation toward a clean energy future, and he is delivering. More is more: producing more of these critical minerals and materials in America will mean even more families in America will enjoy the benefits of clean energy, sooner and swifter. We applaud the Biden Administration for this latest action to secure and strengthen America's clean energy future, which will cut costs and pollution for families and create good-paying jobs here at home." [Statement, 2/22/22]

The Wilderness Society: "We are happy to see the Biden admin recognize some places are too precious for mining impacts — like the Boundary Waters watershed — and their commitment to community-led and science-based mining reform." [Tweet, 2/22/22]

Our Public Lands: "Thank you @POTUS for investing in our domestic supply chain for critical minerals that are necessary for the transition to a clean energy economy - but please continue to push for safeguards for wildlife, vulnerable communities and our public lands." [Tweet, 2/23/22]

CEO of Trout Unlimited Chris Wood: "We thank the administration for listening to stakeholders and launching these mining reform initiatives. Passing Good Samaritan legislation, modernizing mining regulations, encouraging responsible mining practices, enacting a fair royalty on hardrock minerals, and funding abandoned mine remediation are all important steps forward. These steps will help us clean up abandoned mines, avoid the mistakes of the past, and responsibly mine critical minerals necessary for our clean energy future." [Statement, 2/23/22]

Elected Officials

California Governor Gavin Newsom: "The promise of Lithium Valley in California is a game changer in the nation's transition to clean energy and zero-emission vehicles, representing what could be a critical breakthrough in the fight against climate change. California is a global leader in clean energy, and today's announcement represents promising potential for new economic opportunity, community benefits, and good jobs right here in California." [Statement, 2/22/22]

Representative Rick Larson (D-WA): "Minerals like cobalt & lithium are critical to the production of everyday technologies like smartphones & computers. Boosting domestic production of minerals will create well-paying jobs, help alleviate supply chain pressures & improve national security." [Tweet, 2/23/22]

Industry groups

MP Materials Chairman and CEO James Litinsky: "The ability to mine, process, and refine rare earths at Mountain Pass is foundational to a national effort to secure the U.S. rare earth supply chain. We thank the Department of Defense for its confidence and support." [Statement, 2/22/22]

Blue Horizon Capital: "Nice to see the USA finally recognizing the serious issues and concerns in the supply chain for batteries and now for critical materials." [Tweet, 2/23/22]

Joseph R. Biden, WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Biden's Push for Securing Sustainable US Critical Minerals Supply Chain Wins Praise from Environmental Groups Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354607

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