The Energy 202: Trump talks a lot about coal. But his administration just named 35 ‘critical minerals’ – by Dino Grandoni (Washington Post – May 21, 2018)

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump spoke often about the need to mine more coal as he courted voters in swing states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio. After his election, his administration swiftly took steps to repeal Obama-era emissions rules on coal-fired power plants.

But with less fanfare, the Trump administration is also trying to ease the way for more mining of all forms, arguing that access to certain ores is critical to national and economic security.

On Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey published a list of 35 “critical minerals,” paving the way for the Trump administration to potentially ease environmental review requirements for the mining of titanium, graphite and other commodities.

The announcement is just the latest from the Trump administration trying to bolster domestic industries that has lost ground to foreign competitors, such as China, that are able to produce commodities more cheaply because of looser environmental and labor standards.

Among the minerals listed by the USGS, a division of the Interior Department, are aluminum, used to construct military and other aircraft, and zirconium, used to make high-temperature ceramics.

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