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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin Calls for Strengthening U.S.-Canadian Energy and Critical Minerals Partnership

Along with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has long one of the lead champions of a more comprehensive approach to mineral resource security.

On the heels of lamenting the delayed implementation of a set of critical mineral provisions included in the Energy Act of 2020 and the bipartisan infrastructure package passed in 2021 in letters to the Administration, Sen. Manchin called for strengthening the U.S-Canadian energy and critical mineral partnership “to ensure [the] free world’s energy security and address climate change” during a full Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.

In his speech, Sen. Manchin underscores that the goals of pursuing energy security and addressing climate change “aren’t mutually exclusive, and it’s imperative that we address both.”

Citing the weaponization of Russia’s oil and gas resources by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the context of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine as well as China’s penchant for playing politics with its de facto control over global critical mineral supply chains, Sen. Manchin calls for exploring ways in which the United States and Canada “can create an integrated network for raw minerals to move across our borders for processing and manufacturing in both of our countries,” and collaborate “to create a powerful North American critical minerals supply chain.”

Sen. Manchin invokes the deep shared history between the two countries, which, as followers of ARPN well know, includes and dates back to pre-World War II defense industrial base cooperation which continued through the Cold War and beyond, culminating in the U.S. federal code formally recognizing Canada as part of the U.S. National Technology and Industrial Base (NTIB) for national security and defense planning purposes.

Sen. Manchin argues that North American oil and gas cooperation has the potential to fill the void faced by allies and trading partners looking to shed their reliance on Russian supplies, stating that in replacing Russian product, emissions could be cut in the process because “American oil and gas is cleaner than what is produced in Russia – and certainly in Iran and Venezuela.”

Pointing to the immense growth forecast for stationary and electric vehicle batteries which require vast mineral inputs, Manchin emphasizes the need to take “security into account as we invest in climate solutions,” adding that “[i]t makes no sense whatsoever for us to so heavily invest in electric vehicles as a climate solution when that means increasing our reliance on China, because right now we’re not simultaneously increasing our mining, processing, and recycling capacity at the same rate in the United States.”

Unlike some in Washington, D.C., Sen. Manchin understands that the United States cannot just rely on partners and leverage recycling to meet U.S. critical mineral needs, and he makes clear that “the United States also needs to contribute our part to a North American minerals alliance.”

He closes:

“During this time when the U.S., Canada, and our allies and friends are threatened both by dictators weaponizing energy and by intense politicization over climate issues, we must work together to chart a responsible path forward that will ensure security and unlock prosperity for our nations.

We are the superpower of the world, and blessed with abundant energy and minerals resources. We cannot just sit back and let other countries fill the void and find ourselves in a more dire situation in the years ahead.”

As ARPN stated last October in response to former U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson making a similar plea as Sen. Manchin:

“Let’s do it. Let’s build out an integrated North American supply chain for critical minerals where possible — but let’s also not forget that closer cooperation with our friends and allies AND strengthening domestic resource development should not be considered mutually exclusive strategies.”