WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is turning to a Cold War-era law to boost production of lithium and other minerals used to power electric vehicles, but experts say the move by itself is unlikely to ensure the robust domestic mining Biden seeks as he promotes cleaner energy sources.
Biden’s action, part of his efforts to find alternatives to fossil fuels and combat climate change, does not waive or suspend existing environmental and labor standards, the White House said. Nor does it address the chief hurdle to increased domestic extraction of so-called critical minerals: the years-long process needed to obtain a federal permit for a new mine.
Even so, the mining industry and supporters in Congress cheered Biden’s use of the 1950 Defense Production Act to increase U.S. supplies of lithium, nickel and other minerals needed for electric-vehicles batteries and other clean-energy technology.
His March 31 executive order is a historic step by the White House to “recognize the critical importance of minerals and push to electrify the car industry,″ said Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association.
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