The U.S. dependency on China for rare earth elements is a security risk and is being exacerbated by the Biden administration’s forced transition to so-called green technologies, according to lawmakers and experts.
The Biden administration’s top-down push toward renewable energy requires an enormous growth in the mining of rare earth elements. Currently, the United States relies on the mining and processing powers of China, which has far worse environmental regulations, to achieve many of its needs.
“We’re heavily dependent on foreign adversarial nations,” Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) said during an Aug. 22 interview with NTD, an affiliate media outlet of The Epoch Times. “If today, the communist country of China stopped selling us their critical and rare earth minerals, we would be in deep trouble from our national defense to our manufacturing across the globe.”
Rare earth elements are a number of elements with unique characteristics that have made them vital to new technologies. Critical minerals are those rare earth elements that have no substitute, are limited in supply, or are economically vital.
Stauber’s comments come just weeks after U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the United States would try to end its “undue dependence” on rare earths, which it requires to manufacture various technologies, from solar panels to electric vehicle batteries to smartphones.
“It’s unfortunate that this administration has put their dependency for both critical minerals and rare earth minerals in the hands of the communist country of China,” Stauber said. “It’s simply unacceptable when we have the critical minerals and a few of the rare earths right here in the United States. This administration just won’t let us mine.”
According to Stauber, the Biden administration lacks the political will to simply mine the needed elements domestically. For example, nickel, copper, and cobalt are all present at extant mining operations in Minnesota. However, instead of allowing U.S. companies to mine these, the administration is pursuing a policy of “friendshoring,” wherein it merely transfers supply chains for offshored goods from China to more friendly nations, such as South Korea.