Washington is democratic Senator Joe Manchinjoined by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Monday, who asked the Biden administration for updated information on important fossil mining initiatives that two lawmakers say are overdue.
Separate letters sent to US Secretary of Energy Jennifer GrenholmDefense Minister Lloyd Austin, Home Secretary Deb Haaland and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes, two moderate senators have expressed concern over delays in implementing some important provisions on minerals in the 2020 Energy Act and the Infrastructure Investment Place and Infrastructure Investment Act.
“Congress has acted to provide substantial new government and federal assistance to increase domestic mineral supplies through the 2020 Energy Act as well as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” the senators wrote. “Because of the seriousness of the problem, as well as the need for a credible and rapid federal effort, many of these mineral provisions kept deadlines. Unfortunately, those deadlines were not met.”
Manchin of West Virginia and Murkowski of Alaska called on federal agencies to prioritize these efforts and provide information to Congress immediately.
“Without this effort, we will remain vulnerable due to a lack of domestic production and processing of essential minerals, including rare earth elements,” they wrote.
President Joe Biden in March referred to the Defense Manufacturing Act encourage domestic production of materials used for EV batteries, and reduce dependence on China and other countries.
Demand for these keys battery materials – such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese – are expected to grow as automakers pursue ambitious electrification targets and amid global transition to cleaner energy technology.
“While we appreciate the president’s focus on this issue, including the recent implementation of the Defense Manufacturing Act, a government-wide approach is needed to address this issue,” Manchin and Murkowski wrote.
Congress passed the 2020 Energy Act as part of the Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2021, which was signed by then-President Donald Trump.
Biden signed infrastructure bill in November.