As the Biden administration announces drastic steps to push forward its green energy scheme, it faces determined opposition, not from Republicans, but from radical environmental groups.
At the end of the first quarter, Biden announced that his green energy agenda was a national emergency and thus activated the Defense Production Act (DPA) of 1950 declaring green energy a matter of national security.
“I hereby determine, pursuant to … the act that: sustainable and responsible domestic mining, beneficiation, and value-added processing of strategic and critical materials for the production of large-capacity batteries for the automotive, e-mobility, and stationary storage sectors are essential to the national defense;” read a White House statement issued March 31.
Paradoxically, Biden’s actions mean that U.S. mines that were once shut down by congressional Democrats, will now be subsidized by the Biden administration to reopen.
One such mine is located in Mountain Pass, California, surrounded by the Mojave Desert. In 1998, at the urging of California Democrats Senator Diane Feinstein and Representative George Miller, the mine was raided by more than two dozen federal, state, and local environmental agencies over a dead tortoise and a freshwater spill. Actions taken by government agencies put the mine out of business while it was producing rare earths, which are exotic materials critical to U.S. high-tech weapons systems, electric cars, and smartphones.
The mine was the source of nearly all rare-earth metals for the United States, but after it was shut down, communist China became the primary source for America’s rare earths which caused some officials at the Department of Defense to issue warnings that went unheeded for over two decades, according to multiple published sources.
Now, using the DPA, Biden has ordered the Department of Defense to subsidize the reopening of the mine at Mountain Pass to produce elements for national defense, and also to meet his transition to clean energy goals. Rare earths and other minerals such as lithium are essential to powering Biden’s attempt at a transition to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.
Democrats, who have traditionally been opposed to the mining industry in general, now see potential advantages that mining lithium, and other critical elements, in satiating its environmentalist base. That includes a massive lithium mine in northern Nevada. A Canadian company called Lithium Americas has been granted permits to open a mine in the sparsely populated area known as Thacker Pass. Biden has very little opposition from Republicans, but the project has angered some on the far left.
A militant environmental organization, Deep Green Resistance (DGR), says on its website that it is “training revolutionaries” to stop projects such as the Thacker Pass lithium mine and associates of DRG had set up an occupation camp near the mine in protest. Late last year, however, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forced the occupiers off the land and fined them nearly $50,000, according to Max Wilbert, one of the group’s organizers.
Wilbert told The Epoch Times that groups opposed to the mine have filed lawsuits against the BLM and Lithium Americas shut down the operation before it digs its first hole. Even so, Wilbert acknowledges that the “chances of stopping it are not great”.
Environmental groups such as DGR say they have no use for Biden’s green energy transition.
“Public fear is increasingly being weaponized to mobilize public subsidies for the so-called ‘green technology’ industry,” says DGR’s website.
The group also suggests it may be willing to go to war to stop the administration from mining green energy elements.
“Deep Green Resistance evaluates strategic options for resistance, from nonviolence to guerrilla warfare, and the conditions required for those options to be successful. It provides an exploration of organizational structures, recruitment, security, and target selection for both aboveground and underground action,” reads a statement on its website.
Wilbert told Epoch Times that “the fabric of life is fraying,” and he blames Republicans and Democrats. “Both parties have been party to ecological destruction,” he said.
Marc Morano is the publisher of the Climate Depot website and author of the book “Green Fraud.” He told Epoch Times that, “The climate activists are actively preventing the Biden administration from achieving the so-called ‘climate goals’ of renewable energy by hampering domestic energy exploration for vital supplies.”
Morano is skeptical of the environmental alarmism coming from the Biden administration, saying that concerns about global warming are mostly hyped up for political purposes by Democrats. But he also warned of trouble if Biden continues the transition away from fossil fuels to green energy without domestic production of the elements that are necessary to produce lithium batteries for electric cars.
“In short, this means that instead of the U.S. extracting, drilling, or mining for key energy supplies, we are going to outsource it to China and Russia, and other nations. The U.S. has the highest environmental standards in the world and yet by heavily restricting our rare earth mining, we are guaranteeing more imports from China and other nations with much more lax environmental regulations,” Morano said.
Morano said that the United States is unprepared for a transition away from fossil fuels, “The climate agenda has translated into the U.S. giving up our previous energy dominance in exchange for more dependence on rogue countries for key energy components.”
Former assistant secretary of energy, John Shaw, told Epoch Times that domestic mining of lithium and rare earths is essential to energy independence if the Biden administration insists on cutting back on oil production.
“It is key to our country being able to compete in the emerging world lithium battery market, allowing the United States to ensure we remain not only independent to relieve citizens of high energy costs, but to continue our success in developing new forms of energy sources through common sense regulation.”
Regarding anti-mining environmentalists, Shaw said, “some choices need to be made to advance our common goal of energy independence.”
In short, the Biden administration sees domestic mining projects, such as the one at Thacker Pass, as essential to help it achieve its clean energy goals but groups such as Deep Green Resistance see it as an impediment to saving the earth.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the White House for comment.