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34 SMT007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2022 Article by Noelle Lovern ere has long been a battle between envi- ronmental groups and the mining industry. Environmental groups push for clean energy and net zero carbon initiatives while the U.S. mining industry is buried deeper and deeper under overly burdensome permitting pro- cesses and relentless lawsuits that halt explo- ration, construction, and clean production of critical minerals. Supply Chain Issues—No Surprise USGS In 2018, the U.S. government signaled a strong priority to address looming supply chain issues by studying the availability and supply of mined materials and reporting it out in the critical minerals list. At its origin the list pub- lished by the U.S. Geological Society (USGS) included 35 minerals considered to play a sig- nificant role in infrastructure, national secu- rity, renewable energy development, and the economy. Until the recent 2022 update of the list, the U.S. was importing at least 50% of 31 critical minerals from foreign sources—an issue that is arguably one of the greatest threats to the U.S. economy and defense. e urgency to resolve the supply chain issues has been exacerbated by disruptions related to COVID-19 and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine and associated sanctions. Current sup- ply chain threats have urged USGS to add 15 commodities to the 2022 Critical Minerals List. To further address the matter, the Biden Admin- istration issued Executive Order 14017 in Feb- ruary 2022 to secure critical supply chains. Clean Energy and Critical Minerals: The Dichotomy and Divergence

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