As We Move To Secure The Supply Chain For Electric Vehicles

President Joe Biden's Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm is pushing to help shore up the rare earth metal supply chain in the United States.
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President Joe Biden and his administration are making moves to try and urge the United States to adopt electric vehicles. Biden allocated $174 billion towards electric vehicle related issues in his American Jobs Plan proposal announced in Pittsburgh earlier this week. The President also previously tasked the federal government with studying our nation’s supply chain for rare earth metals and other vital EV components. This comes from concerns related to the fact that we currently get most of these products from China, and the possible national security implications that fact presents. The U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm presented ideas on how to shore up this supply chain issue.

To quote some of the finest of modern literature from The Oatmeal: “we require more minerals.”

According to a report from Reuters, Granholm noted last month that the United States needs to boost our own production of various minerals and rare earth metals in order to effectively wean the nation off of China’s resources. Both President Joe Biden and Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm have described the situation with China as “untenable”, though we’ve gotten little in the way of specific ideas as to how to achieve this. Mining is obviously not a popular subject with environmentalists, which also presents a challenge for the new administration. That said, Granholm is adamant that we much approach this challenge with sustainability in mind, as it is with us as well.

Secretary of Energy Granholm is pushing to help shore up the rare earth metal supply chain in the United States.
This is what we are after. Image via USGS.

The United States is home to about 10 percent of the world’s lithium reserves, with the vast majority of the supply existing out west. More specifically, the United States Geological Survey notes that California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts are home to the most lithium deposits in the country. That is surely an ample amount of the material, which has been experiencing a boom in prices as of late. So then it is clear that there are real financial incentives involved here. But again, the way in which we approach mining for these materials is at the front of this discussion, more so than whether or not we have the raw resources.

Lithium Mine Chile
A before and after of a lithium mine in Salar de Atacama in Chile. Image via USGS.

There is no denying that mining is a dirty business as it relates to environmental impacts. In the past, the U.S. has been able to pass the lion share of this burden off on the countries from which we source these materials. But if the government is legitimately going to try to secure our supply chain, the tactics and methodology involved need to be addressed. What good does building massive amounts of electric vehicles do if we have to destroy the environment in order to do it? That is really the challenge that Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and her department faces.

We Require More Minerals
Image via The Oatmeal

Written by Lucas Bell

Lucas holds a journalism degree from Wayne State University, and is a Automotive Press Association scholarship recipient. While an American muscle fan through and through, he once wrote a fascinating comparison review about eScooters.

One Comment

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  1. Liberal idiots in power already stuck a fork in that! Kenyan O closed most of the rare earth mineral mines while he gave billions to bankrupt solar energy companies. Better to have china mine and ship it over here on our dime than to use what we already have. Same w idiot biden and coal. We have a 100 years of coal here not to mention natural gas, but better to close down the mines and drilling and produce wind mills (from coal fired plants) that take years to recoup the construction costs to just break even… are terribly unreliable… Kill countless birds and only work if the wind blows. Mindless fools.

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