Biden Handicaps His Green Dream Economy
Banning mining in an area containing America’s largest nickel and cobalt reserves won’t help build a green economy.
Near the end of his first year in office, Joe Biden placated the extreme left of his base, environmental activists, by signing an executive order committing the federal government to cut its carbon emissions 65% by the end the decade. At the time, the White House boasted that Biden’s order meant the U.S. would “lead by example in tackling the climate crisis.” In order to reach this pie-in-the-sky goal, the federal government’s fleet of more than 600,000 vehicles will be replaced by electric vehicles. Planet saved.
Net-zero emissions by 2050 is the Biden administration’s loudly hyped climate goal. To obfuscate the coming economic damage, Biden peddles this shift to green energy as a big economic opportunity for the nation. Unfortunately, words and wishes don’t magically change reality, as an America producing all its energy needs via renewables is not only a pipe dream, it’s a practical nightmare. And it certainly doesn’t help when the Biden administration locks off any access to mining the minerals needed for building a net-zero economy.
Last week, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland revoked mining permits to over 225,000 acres in Minnesota’s Superior National Forest, land that contains 95% of the nation’s known nickel reserves and 88% of its cobalt. Haaland then announced a 20-year moratorium on any mining activity in the region.
The reason for revoking the permits and banning any future mining boiled down to the usual vacuous environmental sentiments with a little indigenous people’s history sprinkled in. You see, Haaland was simply acting to protect “fragile and vital social and natural resources” and the “traditional cultural values” and “subsistence-based lifestyles” of Native Americans.
The great irony here is that by closing off the nation to these resources, the Biden administration has effectively hamstrung its own ability to develop a green energy economy. If America is going to run on electric power, the country is going to need access to a lot of nickel and cobalt, both of which are necessary for the building of EV batteries.
This move will force the U.S. to become even more dependent on foreign sources for these minerals, especially hostile ones like China and Russia where protecting the environment registers far down their list of priorities. Also consider the human cost. China has a terrible human rights record, as do places such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which currently produces 70% of the world’s cobalt. The labor that takes place in those mines is notoriously inhumane, never mind the ecological damage to the surrounding environment.
So, why would the Biden administration make such a contradictory and apparently self-defeating decision? For one thing, keeping the mining of these minerals well out of sight of the American public helps to prevent any negative press from the pollution these mines could create. You don’t want any bad press for a “green” economy. So, just last month, the Biden administration announced a $30 million investment in a Brazilian nickel and cobalt mine.
Biden’s goal: Keep the mess overseas so the myth of a non-toxic, non-polluting green energy economy can continue to be peddled to the American people. In the meantime, Biden and company can tout just how much work they’re doing to stop climate change.
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