Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to End U.S. Reliance on Chinese Minerals

Mark Kelly and Tom Cotton

A Republican and Democratic senator introduced legislation Friday that aims to end U.S. reliance on rare-earth metals sourced from and produced in China.

The Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths (REEShore) Act would prevent supply disruptions and bolster domestic production of the minerals, according to Sens. Tom Cotton and Mark Kelly, the bill’s sponsors. They said the legislation is important for American national security and development of advanced technologies.

“The Chinese Communist Party has a chokehold on global rare-earth element supplies, which are used in everything from batteries to fighter jets,” Cotton said in a statement. “Ending America’s dependence on the CCP for extraction and processing of these elements is critical to winning the strategic competition against China and protecting our national security.”

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Commentary: The Reckless Push for Electric Vehicles at the U.S. Postal Service

As Democrats regroup and forge ahead with plans to implement components of the Build Back Better legislation killed by Senator Joe Manchin, calls for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to be given billions to electrify its vehicle fleet are likely to soon reach a fever pitch.  

USPS is a high-profile, well-regarded institution through which progressives want to unveil new programs. Progressives pulled out all the stops to provide USPS with electric vehicle funding in 2021 and will likely double down in 2022. 

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‘A Mad Scramble’: One Rare Mineral May Spell Doom for Electric Vehicle Market

Lithium — a mineral that is key for electric car batteries — continues to rise in price, jeopardizing the ongoing transition to renewable energy outlined by Western governments.

The cost of lithium has skyrocketed more than 250% over the last 12 months, hitting its highest level ever, according to an industry index from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. While the cost of manufacturing a lithium-ion battery for an electric vehicle (EV) has fallen sharply over the last decade, the decline has slowed in recent months due to rising lithium costs.

The average cost of an EV battery pack fell to $157 per kilowatt hour, a measure of energy capacity, in 2021, the Department of Energy said in October. That means a typical EV battery is between $6,000 and $7,000, a BloombergNEF analysis showed.

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‘Truly Historic’: Biden Environmental Protection Agency Introduces New Regulations to Force Electric Vehicle Transition

The Biden administration rolled out a series of new emissions regulations for passenger vehicles and light trucks that it said would “unlock” $190 billion in benefits for American consumers.

The regulations will be enforced beginning with 2023 car models and will be revised with more stringent standards in 2027, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced. The EPA said the new emissions standards would ultimately quicken the transition from traditional engine vehicles to zero-emission cars.

“This day is truly historic,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said during an event on Monday.

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Electric Vehicle Push Is Sparking Massive Deforestation, Environmental Damage

A major nickel mine in a Philippines rainforest has continued to expand, mowing down acres of trees as global demand for minerals essential for electric vehicle manufacturing surges.

The Rio Tuba mine in the region of Palawan supplies an important mineral for electric vehicle batteries in Tesla and Toyota cars, but the mine is nearing an expansion that would cause it to grow from four square miles to 14 square miles, according to an NBC News investigation. The growth of the mine would cause massive deforestation of the land which environmentalists warn could destroy the area’s ecosystem.

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Biden Bashed for Action That Could Ban Minnesota Mining Project

President Joe Biden’s administration wants to lead an electric vehicle (EV) revolution, but apparently doesn’t want domestic production of rare earth minerals vital to EVs.

The Biden administration announced a two-year study on a proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeast Minnesota that could delay it for 20 years and stop one of the few planned copper-nickel mines in the nation while the U.S attempts to pivot to EVs from gasoline-powered internal combustion vehicles.

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Tennessee Approves $884M in Funding, Creates Board for $6B Ford Project

The Tennessee Legislature finished its special session on Ford’s $5.6 billion electric truck project Wednesday by approving $884 million in spending and creating a Megasite Authority of West Tennessee board to oversee operations.

“This is the largest single economic investment in rural Tennessee’s history,” Gov. Bill Lee said. “… It is, most importantly, a win for western Tennessee’s workforce.”

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Michigan Prepares for Future Electric Cars Usage

A rise in the number of electric vehicles rumbling off manufacturers’ assembly lines and hitting the state’s roads and highways has Michigan planning to build out a network of charging stations.

A state report predicts by 2030, hybrid or electric vehicles (EV) will represent 51% of all vehicle sales; 50% of vehicle production will have Level 2 autonomy or higher; and software will account for more than 50% of the value of a new vehicle.

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Minnesota’s Clean Energy Sector Recovering from Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Midwest clean energy job market hard, with more than 17,000 workers at one point filing for unemployment.

But the industry appears to be rebounding, according to an analysis of employment data released by the nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and Clean Energy Trust.

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Commentary: America’s Automotive Future

Joe Biden, emulating trendsetting blue state governors like California’s Gavin Newsom and New York’s Andrew Cuomo, recently has declared that by 2030, new car sales must be 50 percent zero-emission electric vehicles.

The problem with this decree is that it violates the proverbial rule against the government picking winners and losers. It’s one thing for the government to subsidize energy research, or, for that matter, any pure research. Libertarian purists might object to that, but sometimes these public-private research partnerships can accelerate innovation and help keep American manufacturers competitive. It’s quite another thing, however, for the government to restrict what sort of technology powers our vehicles, because there’s no way we can predict how technology will evolve between now and 2030.

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Critics Pan Biden Order Calling for Half of U.S. Vehicle Sales to Be Electric by 2030

Electric car being charged

A new executive order from the Biden administration has accelerated the timeline for electric vehicles and raised questions about the economic impacts of the transition away from gas-powered vehicles.

President Joe Biden signed the executive order Thursday aimed at making 50% of vehicles zero emission in the U.S. by 2030, an aggressive push toward electric vehicles. About 2% of new cars sold each year in the U.S. are currently electric, according to the Pew Research Center.

“The Executive Order also kicks off development of long-term fuel efficiency and emissions standards to save consumers money, cut pollution, boost public health, advance environmental justice, and tackle the climate crisis,” the White House said.

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Tennessee Officials to Help Install Electric Vehicle Chargers at State Parks, but Won’t Cite Demand

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) officials announced Wednesday they have entered a partnership to install charging stations for Electric Vehicles (EVs) at all 56 state parks. But, when asked, TDEC officials would not discuss how or whether the demand for these charging stations exceeds any possible costs to the state or anyone else.

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Governor Ralph Northam Signs Major New Clean Car Standards Bill

Governor Ralph Northam announced newly-signed legislation Friday that will require approximately eight percent of model year 2025 vehicles sold in Virginia to be zero-emissions vehicles. HB 1965, introduced by Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico), adds Virginia to the list of states following California’s vehicle emissions standards, which are stricter than the federal standards Virginia currently follows.

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Commentary: Electric Vehicles and Their Drawbacks, Chapter II

There is a growing push in the U.S. and throughout much of the developed world to convert transportation from a primary reliance on fossil fuels to an almost-exclusive use of renewable energy (wind and solar). With this goal come promises of unlimited clean and free energy, the creation of millions of green jobs, and the benefit of helping save the planet from an imminent climate catastrophe.

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Analysis: Electric Vehicles and Their Drawbacks

Electric-powered cars are now the rage. Tesla’s market capitalization is seven times larger than that of General Motors and fourteen times larger than Ford’s, though it builds a fraction of the vehicles that those companies do. Many politicians are even considering banning gasoline-powered cars within a few years in favor of electric vehicles (EVs), all in the name of saving the planet. 

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GM to Make Electric Vehicle, Supply Batteries for Nikola

General Motors announced its second major electric vehicle partnership in less than a week on Tuesday, this time a $2 billion deal with startup Nikola.

GM will take an 11% ownership stake in the Phoenix company and will engineer and build Nikola’s Badger hydrogen fuel cell and electric pickup truck. The Badger is expected to be in production by the end of 2022.

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Despite Lamar Alexander’s Push, Electric Vehicles Reportedly Emit More Carbon Dioxide Than Diesel Counterparts

  Certain electric vehicles emit 11 percent to 28 percent more carbon dioxide than their diesel counterparts, even though various U.S. politicians, including U.S. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, want taxpayer subsidies for such cars. According to a recent article on the Institute for Energy Research’s website, a study…

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Sedans Take Back Seat to SUVs, Trucks at 2019 Chicago Auto Show

by Kane Farabaugh   It’s billed as North America’s largest and longest-running auto show, now in its 111th year. The 2019 Chicago Auto Show offers a lineup of nearly 1,000 vehicles occupying nearly 1 million-square-feet of space at the McCormick Place Convention Center. A special preview for members of the media…

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Volkswagen to Funnel $800 Million into Chattanooga Plant to Build Electric Vehicles as President Trump Pressures German Companies to Invest in America

Volkswagen will spend $800 million to expand its Chattanooga factory to become the German company’s North American hub for manufacturing electric vehicles, and the Scenic City may want to thank President Donald Trump. VW CEO Dr. Herbert Diess made the announcement at a presentation at the Detroit Auto Show Monday, TechCrunch…

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GM’s Mass Layoff Includes Eliminating a Hybrid Car Obama Once Championed

by Chris White   General Motor’s decision to restructure and layoff thousands of employees Monday includes eliminating a hybrid vehicle former President Barack Obama once called the car of the future for the Detroit company. GM said Monday that it will cut roughly 14,000 people in North America and will idle factories…

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