Biden administration thwarts Biden administration’s goal of increasing domestic mining
The Biden administration has suffered another devastating blow from the Biden administration.
President Biden’s latest setback occurred as President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a recommendation to the Army Corps of Engineers, stating the agency did not believe the Corp should reissue the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit for PolyMet’s NorthMet mining project. This will complicate the President’s goals of increasing domestic mining for critical minerals.
Biden’s latest move to impede domestic mining comes just one month after Biden announced he would invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase domestic mining.
Among the critical minerals, Biden sought to boost lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese through the DPA. The EPA’s recommendation on the CWA permit threatens the future of the NorthMet mine, which would be a significant domestic producer of nickel and cobalt.
Minnesota’s Duluth Complex contains 34 percent of U.S. copper reserves, 95 percent of the nation’s nickel reserves, 88 percent of the domestic cobalt reserves, 51 percent of platinum reserves, and 48 percent of palladium reserves. Northeast Minnesota is also home to 90 percent of the country’s iron ore reserves.
The crucial hangup to Biden’s pro-mining policy was the Biden EPA stating that the PolyMet’s mine could not get their blessing even if additional conditions were placed on the permit:
As the NorthMet project is currently designed, there are no conditions that EPA can provide to the Corps that would ensure that the discharges from the CWA Section 404 permitted activities would comply with the Fond du Lac Band’s water quality requirements for its waters.
However, EPA did state that its recommendations “do not foreclose any future modifications to the permit application or to the NorthMet project design.” They would simply require PolyMet to go back to the drawing board, delaying an environmental review process for the mine that has been in the works since 2004.
Only time will tell if Biden’s domestic mining goals will be met amidst the regulatory actions from Biden’s EPA. In the meantime, regular Americans are left to wonder if the Biden administration understands the policy implications of the actions taken by the Biden administration.