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Tipsheet

Interior Secretary Unaware China Dominates Market for Rare Earth Minerals Necessary for EVs

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland appeared to be unaware that the Biden administration’s green energy transition stands to benefit China.

During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this week, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley informed Haaland that the batteries in electric vehicles require precious earth metals - a market dominated by the U.S.'s adversary. 

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"On the subject of these sweeping mandates related to electric vehicles that the Biden administration imposed, including, now, for our military, the metals needed to make the lithium-ion batteries in those vehicles are, of course, lithium, nickel, graphite, and cobalt," Hawley said. "Can you tell me what nation is the largest of refined lithium in the world?"

"No, I can't," she replied. 

"It's China," Hawley informed her, going on to ask the same question regarding refined cobalt and natural graphite. 

"In all of these instances, these mandates, your decision to trade off our energy security in favor of a radical climate change agenda is making us more and more dependent on China," Hawley said. "And at the same time, you are denying mining, blocking mining, blocking permits for mines in this country that would allow us to develop nickel and copper and cobalt."

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Hawley pointed to the Twin Metals mine as an example. The Biden administration blocked plans for a copper, nickel, and cobalt mine in northern Minnesota, a controversial move considering the administration’s push for a green energy transition. 

At the time, Haaland said it was rejected because of the potential risk to Minnesota’s waterways. 

"With an eye toward protecting this special place for future generations, I have made this decision using the best available science and extensive public input," Haaland said.

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