Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Press Release

Clean Energy Cannot be Built on Dirty Mining

Earthworks strongly opposes Biden administration's plan to use Defense Production Act to expand domestic mining.
WASHINGTON -

Background:
Today, The Intercept revealed that the Biden administration is preparing an Executive Order to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to expand hardrock mining. According to The Intercept, the order would specifically call for the “domestic mining, beneficiation, and value-added processing of strategic and critical materials from sustainable sources for the production of large capacity batteries for the automotive, e-mobility, and stationary storage sectors is essential to national defense.”

Current federal mining law (the 1872 Mining Law) fails to provide even basic protections for our shared public lands and the communities that call those lands home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 40% of the headwaters of western U.S. watersheds have been polluted by mining. The Biden administration has said repeatedly that we must reform federal mining laws. Last month, the Department of the Interior announced the creation of an interagency working group on reforming hardrock mining laws, regulations and permitting policies in the United States. 

Research shows that circular minerals solutions such as recycling can displace a significant amount of the demand for minerals for EV batteries and renewables. By prioritizing mineral recycling, reuse, and substitution while promoting demand reduction, the country and the world can move away from extraction reliance. The European Union has introduced legislation requiring recycled content, mandatory takeback and circular economy policies for EV batteries. 

Quote from Lauren Pagel, Earthworks Policy Director: 

“The clean energy transition cannot be built on dirty mining. Expanding mining without addressing the shortcomings of our archaic mining laws would be disastrous. More than a century of reckless mining has poisoned the air, water, and land of too many communities, many of them Indigenous. Earthworks strongly opposes the employment of the Defense Production Act to ramp up new mining.

“Fortunately, there are better ways to meet our growing mineral demand than new hardrock mining. The government must focus its purchasing power on recycled content and building a circular minerals economy, and reform federal mining laws to ensure protections for our shared public lands and the communities that call those lands home.”

###

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions.

'Intentional Vandalism' Leaves Thousands Without Power in North Carolina

One right-wing extremist implied that multiple electrical substations were targeted to disrupt a drag show in Moore County. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating.

Kenny Stancil ·


GOP Silence on Trump's Call to Axe Constitution Reveals 'Full Embrace of Fascism': House Dem

"Last week the leader of the Republican Party had dinner with a Nazi leader and a man who called Adolf Hitler 'great,'" said Rep. Bill Pascrell. "Yesterday Trump called for throwing out the Constitution and making himself dictator."

Kenny Stancil ·


Protesting Fuel Poverty, People Tell UK Government to 'Keep Everyone Warm This Winter'

As energy bills—and fossil fuel profits—continue to soar, demonstrators around Britain demanded immediate action from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and members of Parliament.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Turn Off the Tap on Plastic,' UN Chief Declares Amid Debate Over New Global Treaty

"Plastics are fossil fuels in another form," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, "and pose a serious threat to human rights, the climate, and biodiversity."

Kenny Stancil ·


EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo