Today, President Joe Biden issued an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act to spur the development of domestic clean energy supply chains. Following the announcement, Earthjustice Senior Legislative Representative Blaine Miller-McFeeley issued the following statement:
“The climate crisis and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have demonstrated the urgency to transition to a clean energy future that will lower emissions and reduce our reliance on foreign supplies of dirty fossil fuels while ending toxic impacts on frontline communities. The Biden administration has the opportunity to ensure a sustainable supply chain for the critical minerals we need to cut climate emissions, electrify our transportation sector and transition to clean energy. It is vital that through the implementation of this order we do not proceed under a business-as-usual scenario for a hardrock mining industry that has a long history of environmental harm and impacts to tribal and other vulnerable communities.
“Sustainable solutions, like updating our mining laws and regulations and incentivizing the development of a circular economy based on reusing and recycling critical minerals, can help us meet demand domestically. We must also ensure that any mining that does occur is as safe, sustainable, and pro-worker as possible. The mining industry must pay for the resources it takes out of public lands, and clean up the toxic mess it leaves. With most untapped U.S. critical minerals located within 35 miles of Indigenous communities, this transition must occur with meaningful tribal consultation, Indigenous resource protections, and seek to achieve the free, prior and informed consent of impacted communities.
“We applaud recent announcements by the Biden administration to begin reviewing and updating our mining regulations, and we urge Congress to finally reform the 1872 Hardrock Mining Law that has governed mining practices for 150 years. The administration must undertake every effort to ensure that the transition to clean energy is as sustainable as possible and doesn’t shift the burden of energy production from one community to another.”