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As Renewable Energy Push on Capitol Hill Intensifies, Inherent Irony of Green New Deal is Apparent

As the Biden Administration intensifies its efforts to promote its ambitious renewable energy agenda, energy analyst David Blackmon recently took aim in a piece for Forbes at what we previously called the “Green New Deal’s inherent irony”: the fact that “the same green lobby that advocates for the ‘Green New Deal’ is perhaps the largest potential obstacle to its success.”

Blackmon thinks we could “be about to witness a replay of the politics of the Shale Revolution, only this time those politics will be playing out around the mining of the country’s own supplies of rare earth minerals,” as the “traditional priorities” and policy goals of the green lobby “collide with the realities on the ground.” Or as friends of ARPN might put it …the realities under the ground.

After an early — largely bipartisan — consensus on shale gas representing an opportunity to reduce emissions and reliably deliver an alternative to coal in the onset of the Shale Revolution, hydraulic “fracking” was quickly vilified by the green lobby, to the point that, as Blackmon observes, “[t]oday, the leaders of the Democratic party talk about natural gas in power generation more as a nuisance to be quickly eliminated than as a ‘bridge fuel’ that has done so much to create cleaner air in this country.”

Blackmon says “[t]he question for those promoting this ‘energy transition’ will inevitably become whether the same kinds of destructive and costly political dynamics can be avoided when it comes to efforts to mine for large U.S. resources of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and others?”

Walking through several of the key metals and minerals fueling the green energy transition — copper, cobalt, nickel, and antimony, all of which could be developed domestically but in which efforts to do so are running into opposition — Blackmon says for the Green New Deal to succeed, “something will have to ultimately give.”

His bottom line:

“There will be no successful ‘energy transition’ or ‘Green New Deal’ implementation in the United States unless companies are allowed to access this country’s own plentiful supplies of these and other rare earth minerals. Anyone who is serious about the energy transition and countering Chinese dominance in critical mineral and rare earth development should support domestic policies that ensure responsible but swift mining development for these minerals.”

Click here to read Blackmon’s full piece.