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A rush to mine lithium in Nevada is pitting climate advocates and environmental groups against each other


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If I was a member of the NV native tribe, I'd be all for this mine and I'd be pushing to build a new casino or add on to the existing one in McDermitt. 

A rush to mine lithium in Nevada is pitting climate advocates and environmental groups against each other

In an ancient and now extinct supervolcano sitting in northern Nevada lies a treasure that its seekers call "white gold."

This metal isn't to trade or to make jewelry out of -- it's lithium, and its value lies in its role in potentially slashing the world's carbon emissions.
President Joe Biden's plan to transform the US to clean, low-carbon economy energy depends on switching to electric vehicles, and that means replacing gas with batteries, which are made from critical minerals like lithium.
    But in the US, doing so is not without controversy.
     
     
      Lithium is a key ingredient for the big, rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles and store energy generated by solar panels and wind turbines -- keeping that energy in use even when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing.
        Obtaining these minerals, which some call the new "white gold," is part of the latest worldwide rush to produce clean energy. Earlier this year, the Biden administration released a strategic plan from several federal agencies detailing how it planned to improve the entire supply chain for critical minerals like lithium -- from extracting it from US mines to putting it in batteries, to recycling and reusing these batteries.
         
        "America has a clear opportunity to build back our domestic supply chain and manufacturing sectors, so we can capture the full benefits of an emerging $23 trillion global clean energy economy," US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in June.
          In the US, the major lithium prospect is a large deposit in Thacker Pass, Nevada, and another lithium deposit sits in North Carolina. The Thacker Pass lithium deposit is one of the world's largest, sitting in an ancient, and now-extinct, supervolcano.
          A proposal to start mining lithium by Lithium Nevada Corporation -- a subsidiary of Lithium Americas Corp. -- was approved by the US Bureau of Land Management in January.
          "It's the largest-known lithium deposit in North America, so given where we're going globally and as a country, it's a unique opportunity," Jonathan Evans, president and CEO at Lithium Americas Corp., told CNN.
          Evans told CNN that currently, the bulk of lithium chemicals used in the US are imported from other countries. Lithium-rich countries including Chile and Bolivia are heavy exporters. Evans said that with lithium deposits in the US and Canada, "it's not lost on state governments and the federal that everyone wants to play in that and we have the resources to do it."
          Lithium and cobalt mining for electric cars has been controversial globally for years, in part because of its environmental destruction, the short lifespan of batteries and in some countries, because child labor has been used in the process.
          And as a "white gold" rush comes to the US, not everyone is thrilled about the rush to mine it.

          Not everyone is on board

          Lithium Americas hopes to break ground on its mining project in early 2022. CNN traveled to Nevada and found the rush to procure critical minerals in the United States has pitted environmental advocates against each other.
          Some climate advocates say the rush to mine lithium is critical for a larger transition away from fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Other local environmental groups and tribal nations oppose the project, concerned about disturbing sacred tribal burial grounds as well as potential environmental impacts. Three tribal groups tried to stop it through lawsuits -- which were dismissed by a judge in September.
          "A lot of us understand blowing up a mountain for coal mining is wrong; I think blowing up a mountain for lithium mining is just as wrong," said Max Wilbert, an environmental organizer who is camping out at Thacker Pass to protest the mine's development.
          Wilbert cited several reasons he is against the lithium mine: environmental impacts to sage grouse and antelope, potential water pollution for surrounding communities and cultural issues for the local indigenous community, which considers the land on and around Thacker Pass sacred burial grounds.
          Wilbert is currently camping out in frigid Nevada desert winter conditions in a tribal ceremonial camp, and he and other advocates say they're willing to stand in front of mining machinery to try to stop the project from going forward.
          "Our laws haven't caught up to the reality of what's happening to our planet, and so people might have to break the law in order to change what's happening," he said. "Electric cars won't actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions that much; they will reduce emissions but not by a sizable amount."
          Driving gas-powered vehicles in the US comes at a cost to the climate. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation account for nearly 30% of total US emissions; more than any other sector, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
          Glenn Miller, a retired professor of environmental science at the University of Nevada Reno, disagreed -- telling CNN the Thacker Pass project is a "relatively benign mine for its size."
          Miller said he thinks the clean energy benefits of mining lithium in Nevada outweigh environmental concerns -- especially when it comes to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions worsening global climate change.
          "Those who say it isn't going to make any difference, they're simply wrong," Miller said. "Radical environmentalists are going to argue that the only way to solve the climate change problem is to drive a whole lot less and to not burn gasoline or coal. Well, that's not going to happen -- the demands of society are set so we're going to have to have an active transportation industry."
          Miller told CNN that lithium is the key ingredient that will power the transition to electric vehicles.
          "There's no other metal that can work as well as lithium," Miller said. "We're going to need a lot of batteries to run the cars that we're going to have on the road. It's going to be a very positive contribution to mitigating climate change."
          Evans told CNN his company is engaging community stakeholders, and local and state governments about the mine's plans.
            "It's very important that this transition is done as sustainable as possible," Evans said, stressing his company is committed to mitigating the environmental impacts of mining as much as it can, by conserving water use and trying to lessen carbon emissions as it extracts the mineral.
            "It's not the cheapest, but it's essential as we move to this phase to ensure we do things as responsibly as possible."
             
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            • Hmmmmmm 1
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            If I was a member of the NV Native American community I would oppose the mine. But I would still push for that Casino as long as they didn't raise the price of the buffet.

            If we were both proud Native Americans could we at least agree that the parking lot should be repaved and the restrooms re-tiled? 

            Meet me half way Slim. As men of color who share an ethnic heritage centuries old. We will put aside our differences and join together to get that Casino remodeled!

             

             

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            If there is one active lithium mine in the US, the silver peak mine in Nevada, and it opened in 1966, I do not think that any project in the US will actually get started any time soon.  

            There’s projects that will never get developed any time soon, Iike the lithium crystals in Maine.   The wilder ss there would be ruined.  There’s also lithium claims around me in central AZ.  I suspect that the research was funded by a LLC, but now that investors have spent their money on that, the next phase will be too costly to build.  In “Lithium Valley” at the salton sea, a man made by accident lake, I don’t think that project will win out compared to lake restoration projects.

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            • 1 month later...

            Where is all the energy coming from to charge the cars? Government subsidized wind and solar? The drought has severely cut back Dams producing energy and the environmentalists   don,t consider hydro electricity clean energy. They are even shutting down Diablo Canyon  power plant in Kalifornia without the resources to make up for the power lost. Brown outs and very high electrical costs are coming for everyone. Thanks to our idiots running our government.

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            47 minutes ago, Beeper Bob said:

            Where is all the energy coming from to charge the cars? Government subsidized wind and solar? The drought has severely cut back Dams producing energy and the environmentalists   don,t consider hydro electricity clean energy. They are even shutting down Diablo Canyon  power plant in Kalifornia without the resources to make up for the power lost. Brown outs and very high electrical costs are coming for everyone. Thanks to our idiots running our government.

            If they don't use wind or solar the cars will use government subsidized petroleum and coal.

            Diablo Canyon will generate until November 2024. They DO have the resources to offset the loss of electrons. The plan is to remotely generate with natural gas. That infrastructure is under construction now all across California.

            FYI hydroelectric IS clean energy and renewable. And "enviromentalists" consider it as such. The claim that "they" don't is false.

             

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            1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

            FYI hydroelectric IS clean energy and renewable. And "enviromentalists" consider it as such. The claim that "they" don't is false.

             

            I think if you look at things a little closer Bob you will discover that  historically environmentalists have raised the largest opposition to dams and been the direct cause of the removal of many dams.

            https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/03/environmentalists-didnt-expect-this-would-happen-when-they-busted-up-dams/

            https://grist.org/article/when-environmentalists-busted-up-dams-coal-moved-in/

            https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/climate/environmentalists-hydropower-dams.html

            Over the past 30 years, more than 100 small dams have been removed in California. The 2015 breaching of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River was the largest dam removal in state history. Several other large dams are targeted for removal, including Matilija Dam, four dams on the Klamath River, and Scott Dam on the Eel River.

            And there is more to come:

            https://www.courthousenews.com/california-regulator-advances-historic-dam-removal-project/

            In the meantime California environmentalists have eliminated natural gas as an energy source for their largest city.

            https://www.barrons.com/articles/ge-stock-natural-gas-power-51630688272

            Edited by clay
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            3 hours ago, clay said:

            I think if you look at things a little closer Bob you will discover that  historically environmentalists have raised the largest opposition to dams and been the direct cause of the removal of many dams.

            https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/03/environmentalists-didnt-expect-this-would-happen-when-they-busted-up-dams/

            https://grist.org/article/when-environmentalists-busted-up-dams-coal-moved-in/

            https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/climate/environmentalists-hydropower-dams.html

            Over the past 30 years, more than 100 small dams have been removed in California. The 2015 breaching of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River was the largest dam removal in state history. Several other large dams are targeted for removal, including Matilija Dam, four dams on the Klamath River, and Scott Dam on the Eel River.

            And there is more to come:

            https://www.courthousenews.com/california-regulator-advances-historic-dam-removal-project/

            In the meantime California environmentalists have eliminated natural gas as an energy source for their largest city.

            https://www.barrons.com/articles/ge-stock-natural-gas-power-51630688272

            You seem to be confusing the term "clean energy" with "dams".

            Hydroelectric power is clean energy Clay. Even if some are against dams.

            The environmentalists objections have nothing to do with the energy generated. Nor do those objections make hydroelectric energy less "clean".

            Likewise, because some "environmentalists" have rejected natural gas it does not mean they aren't planning to generate electricity via multiple remote natural gas generators to make up for the loss of the Diablo Canyon reactor.

            They have actually curtailed emission limits in California to allow natural gas generation despite the objections of some "environmentalists". 

            I know it's confusing...

             

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            1 hour ago, Bedrock Bob said:

            You seem to be confusing the term "clean energy" with "dams".

            Hydroelectric power is clean energy Clay. Even if some are against dams.

            The environmentalists objections have nothing to do with the energy generated. Nor do those objections make hydroelectric energy less "clean".

            Likewise, because some "environmentalists" have rejected natural gas it does not mean they aren't planning to generate electricity via multiple remote natural gas generators to make up for the loss of the Diablo Canyon reactor.

            They have actually curtailed emission limits in California to allow natural gas generation despite the objections of some "environmentalists". 

            I know it's confusing...

             

            Hydroelectric power without dams? New technology or just more Bob hubris? I know you are not stupid Bob please explain how removing clean energy sources is a good thing.

            As far as environmentalists not having objections to hydroelectric power why would they continually campaign (for years) to remove all the hydroelectric dams on the Klamath and Snake rivers? If they succeed they will add dozens of species to the endangered/extinct lists and destroy a thousand year old ecosystem.

            https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/547785001/klamath-river-and-klamath-river-dams-critical-points-regarding-krrc-s-proposal-to-remove-klamath-dams

            Edited by clay
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            41 minutes ago, clay said:

            Hydroelectric power without dams? New technology or just more Bob hubris? I know you are not stupid Bob please explain how removing clean energy sources is a good thing.

            As far as environmentalists not having objections to hydroelectric power why would they continually campaign (for years) to remove all the hydroelectric dams on the Klamath and Snake rivers? If they succeed they will add dozens of species to the endangered/extinct lists and destroy a thousand year old ecosystem.

            https://www.einnews.com/pr_news/547785001/klamath-river-and-klamath-river-dams-critical-points-regarding-krrc-s-proposal-to-remove-klamath-dams

            It isn't about dams Clay. 

            I disagreed with the statement that environmentalist didn't consider hydroelectric power clean energy. 

            Not whether they agreed with dams. 

            It obviously is. And they obviously do.

            I know you aren't stupid Clay.

            You seem to want to have some other conversation. I'll let you have it with someone else. 

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