Steve Moore on the Mineral Bottleneck

September 30, 2019

by John McClaughry

Economist Stephen Moore, who I have known for years, recently called attention to threats by Beijing to cut off American access to critical mineral imports. “Today,” he writes, “the United States is 90% dependent on China and Russia for many vital rare earth minerals.”

“The main reason for our over-reliance on nations like China for these minerals is not that we are running out of these resources here at home. The mining isn’t happening because of extremely prohibitive environmental rules and a permitting process that can take five to 10 years to open a new mine.”

“What they may not realize is that the de facto mining prohibitions jeopardize the “Green Energy Revolution” that liberals are so desperately seeking. Making renewable energy at all technologically plausible will require massive increases in the supply of rare earth and critical minerals. Without these valuable metals, there will not be more efficient 21st-century batteries for electric cars or modern solar panels.”

“Yet, for decades now, environmentalists have erected every possible barrier to mining here in America for critical minerals.”

“Thanks to the extreme environmentalists, we import from unfriendly and repressive governments the critical minerals needed to produce rechargeable batteries (lithium and cobalt), wind turbine motors (dysprosium), thin films for solar power (tellurium) and miniature sensors that manage the performance of electric vehicles (yttrium).”

The Green New Deal enthusiasts need to start paying attention to the real world.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

William Hays October 8, 2019 at 12:38 pm

I believe all those ‘critical’ minerals are abundant in the USA. Unfortunately, more abundant are the “Green Loons”, NIMBYs, “Tree Huggers”, misinformed “environmentalists”, etc., aided-and-abetted by bureaucrats, Progressives, and Luddites.

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