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President Invokes Defense Production Act for Clean Energy Materials

President Joe Biden recently announced that he would use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to expand and accelerate the mining of critical minerals and materials needed to build a clean energy economy.

The DPA, passed in 1950, allows the federal government to direct private companies to allocate materials for national defense purposes. Biden’s use of the DPA will stimulate extraction of critical minerals like lithium and nickel, and build up the U.S. stockpile of these elements, which are needed for electric vehicle batteries and other clean energy technologies.

This action comes in part as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has sparked both a ban on imports of Russian oil, gas, and minerals, and a broader discussion on the national security risk of relying on imported energy supplies.

While it is vital to speed up our transition to renewable energies, it cannot be done at the expense of communities and the environment. The foremost mining law still used today, the General Mining Act of 1872, does not impose royalties on mining companies and has lax environmental standards.

Policymakers must understand the risks of critical mineral mining to ensure they can support their communities in maintaining safe, healthy environments as the United States navigates this energy transition.

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News and Updates

UN Releases Final Section of Climate Report
On April 4, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final portion of its latest comprehensive climate review. This portion of the report, focused specifically on climate change mitigation, makes clear that any further delay on climate action will result in severe impacts to our planet. However, the report also emphasized that we have the tools and resources needed to address this crisis and transition to clean energy.

A proposal currently before Congress lays out $550 billion in climate spending. Urge your lawmakers to pass this legislation for the sake of our planet and future.

Administration Issues New Fuel Economy Standards
The Transportation Department released new fuel efficiency standards this week that could prevent trillions of pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere and keep billions of gallons of gas in the ground. This is another positive step taken by the Biden administration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, Congress must still take action to help the United States reach its emissions reduction commitments.

FCNL Staff Visit Oxon Run Solar Farm
On March 21, I joined FCNL’s lead climate lobbyist Clarence Edwards and General Secretary Bridget Moix for a visit to a community solar farm in Washington, D.C. Energy generated from the farm supplies 820 households with power that is equal to about 50% of their annual energy consumption. The Oxon Run solar farm site hosts approximately 7,200 solar panels and generates 2.65 megawatts of energy under ideal conditions. It is the largest community solar system in the District.

Clarence Edwards, Bridget Moix, and Rosalie Ruetz at Oxon Run Solar Farm in D.C.
Clarence Edwards, Bridget Moix, and Rosalie Ruetz at Oxon Run Solar Farm in D.C.

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Rosalie Ruetz

Rosalie Ruetz

Program Assistant, Sustainable Energy and Environment (2021-2022)

Rosalie Ruetz is the program assistant for sustainable energy and environment.