Earthworks Statement On AAAS Mineral Supplies Study

Background:
Today the American Association for the Advancement of Science published a study, “Evaluating the mineral commodity supply risk of the U.S. manufacturing sector.” The study focused on minerals necessary for the transition to low-carbon energy infrastructure.

Statement of Aaron Mintzes, Earthworks Senior Policy Counsel:
“The rapid transition to a clean energy economy is an opportunity to clean up the mining industry, the nation’s top toxic polluter. By demanding minerals from cleaner sources — recycling, reuse, and, as a last resort, cleaner, more responsibly-operated mines sited with community consent — clean tech companies can clean up our energy systems and clean up mining at the same time.

Unfortunately, the mining industry is trying to gut bedrock environmental laws in order to accelerate the mining of so-called “critical minerals,” claiming America is over-reliant on foreign countries for these minerals. Critical minerals policy is simply the mining lobby’s latest gambit in a decade-long attempt to eviscerate community and environmental oversight of their industry.

Improvement of U.S. mining policy is long overdue, but that means strengthening oversight, not loosening it. Communities across the country are living with pollution from irresponsible mining, and taxpayers — not the polluters — too often pay for cleanup. We need 1872 Mining Law reform such as that proposed by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Grijalva and NM Senator Udall. ”

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