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Forget Tariffs: Biden Should Look to Domestic Mining to Thwart Chinese EVs

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Fr0m Heartland Daily News

By Rick Whitbeck

The Biden administration’s decision to raise tariffs on Chinese-manufactured electric vehicles, steel, computer chips, and other technological products is the epitome of a penny wise and a pound foolish.

To much of the nation, the news was a reelection flip-flop, or an attempt to prop up the electric vehicle industry Biden has prioritized since he took office, as part of his green agenda. The international supply chain for electric vehicles isn’t going to magically stop running through the Chinese Communist Party anytime soon.

If Biden really wanted to curb Chinese geopolitical power, he would make fundamental changes to his administration’s history of attacking domestic mining opportunities. Allowing development of copper, graphite, nickel, cobalt, and other critical and strategic minerals right here at home would go much further than imposing tariffs.

Biden has demonstrated affinity for promoting “net zero” policies and forcing transitions away from traditional energy supplies of oil, gas, and coal. In a nutshell, the attacks on domestic mining projects seem completely counterproductive.

According to the International Energy Agency, staggering quantities of subsurface elements will need to be mined by at least five times their current worldwide production by 2040 to meet the Biden administration’s green energy goals. Graphite, cobalt, and lithium all will be needed in quantities exceeding 25 times (or more) their current supplies. In the next quarter century, we will need twice as much copper than has been produced in the last 3,000 years. All of which is impossible when Biden won’t let us dig.

The U.S. has tremendous opportunities to have our own mineral resources. Yet, the Biden administration has thwarted their development at nearly every turn. For example, massive copper and nickel deposits could be developed in Minnesota at the Twin Metals and Duluth Complex projects, but Biden has ordered each of them off-limits for development. The Resolution Copper prospect in Arizona met a similar fate, with the Department of Interior placing on “indefinite hold” its approval.

The Western Hemisphere’s largest copper prospect is Alaska’s Pebble Mine. Kowtowing to environmental extremists—and ignoring a clean U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Final Environmental Impact Statement—the Environmental Protection Agency continues to stymie progress on a deposit worth more than $500 billion. All the while shutting down the possibility of 700 full-time jobs in an area of rural Alaska that has seasonal unemployment exceeding 20%.

Alaska has been the target of more than 60 administrative and executive orders targeting its resource-based economy since Biden assumed office. One of the most recent took place on Earth Day, when a congressionally-authorized road to the Ambler Mining District—an area rich in copper, zinc, and other strategic and critical minerals—was stopped by the Department of Interior.

Just like with the Resolution mine in Arizona, the Interior Department used “Indigenous opposition” as its deciding factor, even though many villages and tribes closest to the mining district publicly support the project and its future employment opportunities. In Alaska, the Biden administration literally blocks the road to the minerals Biden’s tariffs claim to protect.

Alaska’s governor, Michael Dunleavy, along with its entire congressional delegation, has been openly critical of the continued hypocrisy of the Biden administration when it comes to talking “net zero” and acting with vigor to oppose domestic mining projects. The same response has come from many within the Minnesota and Arizona congressional community. They’ve been unable to break through to the administration, as Team Biden chooses to listen to eco-activists and career bureaucrats with an anti-development agenda.

What would hurt China, empower America, and begin to chip away at the global imbalance would be mining and processing our crucial minerals and elements domestically. Let’s see if the Biden administration wises up to that fact, or if America tires of being subservient to the CCP and makes fundamental changes to federal leadership in November.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs and fights back against economy-killing and family-destroying environmental extremism. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @PTFAlaska

This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.

To read more about domestic mining to escape reliance on China, click here.

To read more about clean energy and mining, click here.

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Biden’s Ambitious EV Charging ‘Fantasy’ May Be On A Collision Course With Reality

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By NICK POPE

 

President Joe Biden has pledged to install 500,000 public electric vehicle (EV) chargers around the U.S. by 2030, but logistical hurdles may be too much to overcome.

The Biden administration landed $7.5 billion to build out a network of public EV charging stations around the country in the bipartisan infrastructure package of 2021, but those funds have only led to a handful of operational charging stations to date. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reaffirmed the administration’s goal to build 500,000 chargers with the money by 2030 during a May television appearance on CBS News, but challenges like adding transmission lines, navigating the permitting process and coordinating with utility companies figure to make the goal improbable.

As of April 1, the administration’s $7.5 billion push had only led to seven operational charging stations combining for less than 40 chargers around the U.S., a pace that has drawn criticism from House Republicans and even Democratic Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley. While other projects are on their way to being built and operational, the nation’s EV charging infrastructure remains mostly concentrated in more densely-populated, coastal areas of the country, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

While results have been slow to materialize, federal funding should be sufficient to build approximately 25,000 charging spots at about 5,000 stations, according to Atlas Public Policy, a policy analysis organization that focuses specifically on EVs. In order to reach those figures by 2030, the administration’s funding will have to spur the construction of more than 900 stations each year until then, a big step up from the program’s output of less than 10 stations over nearly three years.

“Our programs are accelerating private sector investment that puts us on track to deploy 500,000 charging ports well ahead of schedule and continue to expand a convenient and reliable charging network,” a Department of Transportation spokesperson told the DCNF. “There are currently projects underway in partnership with states and local grantees for 14,000 federally-funded EV charging ports across the country under the [National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI)] and [Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI)] programs that will build on the 184,000 chargers operational today.”

Of the 184,000 chargers in operation today, more than 107,000 were already in circulation as of 2020, the last full year before the Biden administration took office, according to the DOE. Moreover, there are only about 10,000 fast charger stations in the U.S., a number that EV proponents would like to see increase to alleviate the public’s concerns about EV range and recharging wait times, according to The Washington Post.

Some of the biggest logistical hurdles are ones that may not be immediately obvious, such as enduring the process of building out needed transmission lines and upgrading existing utility infrastructure to accommodate hundreds of thousands of new chargers, according to experts who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation about whether such a number of chargers will be operational by 2030.

One skeptical expert is Dr. Jonathan Lesser, a senior fellow at the National Center for Energy Analytics and president of Continental Economics. Lesser estimates that “hundreds of thousands of miles” of new transmission lines will be needed to deliver enough electricity to the right places to meet the administration’s goal, a tall order given that the U.S. managed to complete less than 700 miles of transmission projects in 2022, according to data aggregated by Statista.

Lesser wrote his own analysis of the challenges the administration’s EV charger push faces for The Hill on Monday.

“The administration’s efforts to mandate EVs without considering the physical infrastructure to charge them (to say nothing of the cost), not only highway charging stations but also the necessary upgrades to millions of miles of local distribution circuits and transformers for home charging – is either an exercise in green virtue signaling or a cynical effort to restrict Americans’ mobility,” Lesser told the DCNF. “If EVs are the wave of the future then consumers will purchase them without the need for mandates and the private sector will develop the necessary infrastructure, just as it did a century ago and just as Tesla has done for its vehicles, without the need for government intervention.”

“If all those chargers were in place, you would need hundreds of thousands of large transformers and transmission lines along highways to provide the electricity,” Lesser continued. “You would also need linemen to install everything – and they are already in short supply. Of course, none of this addresses the issue of where the electricity comes from – if it is to be from renewables (e.g., wind and solar), there would have to be a massive building effort.”

Lesser believes there is “not a chance” that the 500,000 charger goal is met by 2030, and added that Buttigieg’s suggestion the administration will reach that target amounts to “pure fantasy.”

In addition to the billions of dollars meant to subsidize public charging infrastructure, the administration is also spending big to help manufacturers produce more EVs and to blunt the higher costs of EVs for consumers. Further, federal agencies have also promulgated aggressive fuel economy standards and tailpipe emissions rules that will force significant increases in EV sales over the next decade for light-, medium- and heavy-duty models.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm described the chargers covered by the $7.5 billion program as “the hardest ones because they’re going to places where the private sector hasn’t gone because there’s no electricity, because they’re remote” at Politico’s 2024 Energy Summit remarks on Wednesday.

Aidan Mackenzie — an infrastructure fellow at the Institute for Progress with particular expertise covering energy, transportation and housing policy — agreed that logistical challenges are likely to hinder the administration’s goal for charger deployment by 2030. Specifically, he highlighted securing complementary infrastructure, like transmission lines, as likely to sap time and resources away from the effort to construct a national network of public chargers.

“It seems like it’s going to be hard to meet this target,” Mackenzie told the DCNF. “Different utility regions do not necessarily have an incentive to plan or build large capacity transmission lines that share power. They often interrupt the way that utilities want to control the generation in their region. So, I would very much expect that to be the binding constraint.”

However, Mackenzie added that the administration could achieve the desired results of its $7.5 billion program and its broader goal of 500,000 charger goal if regulators and builders are able to develop “muscle memory” in the earlier stages of rollout so that officials from both sectors can more easily and quickly navigate complex processes in the near future.

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Current EV strategy charging ahead to failure

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Dan McTeague  Written By Dan McTeague

For years now I’ve been saying that electric vehicles, and EV mandates, are bad for Canada.

Back in 2020, when the then-CEO of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, voiced his concerns that governments were moving too fast in their push for an all-electric car market when there were other good options available which didn’t require the same multi-billion dollar infrastructure overhaul or increase in electricity generation, I asked why we weren’t listening to a man who knows his own business.

When Europe found itself in an energy crisis in the winter of 2022, and the Swiss government asked its citizens to avoid driving their EVs, even considering an outright ban, to protect their fragile electricity grid, I said that with our already-strained grid we were seeing our future playing out before us in Switzerland and mandates or no, consumers just wouldn’t stand for it.

And more recently, as stories have piled up of EVs’ vulnerability to the cold — “We got a bunch of dead robots out here,” as one frustrated EV owner put it, surrounded by frozen EVs that had run out of juice while waiting for a charge in a cold snap — I’ve asked over and over again, why on earth our government is trying to force the large scale adoption of an automobile technology which functions so poorly in a normal Canadian winter.

I take no pleasure in being proved right, but nearly every day brings about a new story of EVs failing to meet the lofty expectations our leaders have set for them.

  • Recent headlines have trumpeted the difficulties EV drivers are having getting their cars fixed, because so few mechanics know how to work on them.
  • People are finding that the resale value of their EV is falling at a much faster rate than their neighbour’s reliable internal combustion engine vehicle.
  • Rental car companies like Hertz have been taking major losses after over-investing in EVs, that no one wants to rent. Apparently people don’t like the idea of pinning their vacation on a car they might not be able to charge.
  • And major auto manufacturers have been significantly scaling back their annual EV production, despite impending mandates which will force consumers to buy their product in just over a decade.

Even with the generous government subsidies handed to Ford in order to produce made-in-Canada electric SUVs, that company has decided to push their release date for the vehicles back two years — a decision that means layoffs for the majority of the 2,700 workers at the plant, according to the Globe and Mail. GM has followed suit, with recent  reports  claiming that they are “having a second look” at plans to build EV motors at their plant in St. Catherines, Ontario.

Those companies are beginning to accept reality, something various nations around the world have started to do, as well. The U.K., Germany, Italy, and other European countries, as well as the U.S., have had resistance to EV mandates play a big role in their politics lately. The Biden campaign was even forced to issue a statement saying, “There is no ‘EV mandate,’” after Donald Trump predicted to Detroit autoworkers that the White House’s pro-EV policies would put them out of work.

In the face of all of this, the Trudeau government continues to double down, reaffirming mandates and shovelling more and more tax dollars into the EV fire.

They should know better.

And maybe they do.

But maybe the dollars and the promises to their activist friends have just gotten so big that they feel like they can’t change course now.

Or maybe they are just too stubborn to admit that people like me were right all along, that they bet big and they bet wrong. And they can’t say they weren’t warned.

Buckle up.

Dan McTeague is President of Canadians for Affordable Energy

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