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U.S. DoE’s Sandalow links technology, green energy to resource development

A high-ranking U.S. Department of Energy official is making the link between American technological progress and green energy to resource development. Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow told a U.S. Senate subcommittee last week that the U.S. must find ways to mitigate supply risk associated foreign dependence on rare earths and a range of “critical materials” vital to the technologies driving our energy future.

Basing his remarks largely on the Critical Materials Strategy issued by the Department of Energy in December 2010, Sandalow stressed the importance of domestic production as part of a multi-pronged approach to deal with challenges associated with rare earths and critical minerals in the clean energy economy, but also in petroleum-refining- and other applications not addressed in last year’s report.

U.S. DoE may be just one of the Executive Branch departments and agencies with overlapping authority on critical materials policy, but its work should be a wake-up call to the larger policy community on the need for new thinking on this strategic issue.