Electric Vehicle

President Biden’s invocation of the Defense Production Act will aid in accelerating critical mineral production, strengthen the EV supply chain

President Biden invoked the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to help boost the domestic production of critical minerals, which are used in electric vehicles (EVs) and other technologies that require batteries, ranging from smartphones, to laptops, to national security architecture. The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) strongly supports this decision.

“​​Boosting our domestic critical mineral production and processing will reduce our dependence on foreign supply chains and improve climate impacts by ending the need to transport these minerals around the world,” said Joe Britton, the Executive Director of ZETA. “The processing capacity for some of these minerals has become so heavily concentrated overseas—even minerals extracted in the U.S. are often sent abroad for refining before being sent back to the U.S. to be integrated into EV batteries. From both an economic and environmental standpoint, it is an incredibly inefficient use of resources to be shipping minerals across the world for processing, just to then bring them back to the U.S. for domestic manufacturing. The obvious solution is we should co-locate mineral processing with the production, which will undoubtedly be a boon for domestic production and the EV sector as a whole.”

Importantly, the Biden-Harris Administration’s invocation of the Defense Production Act will not lower environmental protections that govern domestic mineral extraction or processing. Rather, the Administration’s action is demonstrating the urgency of reducing our reliance on foreign supply chains for these minerals. Through the invocation of the Defense Production Act, mineral production companies will be able to more easily access federal funds to conduct feasibility studies, make productivity and safety improvements, and boost production capacity. These funds will also help strengthen the United States’ mineral processing industry and accelerate transportation electrification. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration is taking a vital step in strengthening the development of clean-energy technologies in the United States,” continued Britton. “We know that electrifying our transportation sector will combat climate change, boost public health, and create millions of good-paying jobs. Our success in fully electrifying transportation is predicated on building a robust domestic critical mineral supply chain. We are calling on Congress to provide additional funding to ensure that our domestic supply chain remains competitive.”

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