Texas GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw confronted the Biden administration and environmentalists on Wednesday, saying that they are putting the nation at risk because of their hostility to mining.
Crenshaw pointed out in a long Twitter thread that despite what some environmentalists may propound, “Wind turbines and natural gas plants are not a one-to-one trade off. Building wind turbines and solar panels requires 10x the materials to deliver the same amount of energy we get with oil and gas.”
“Building a 100MW wind farm requires: 30,000 tons of iron ore, 50,000 tons of concrete, and 900 tons of non-recyclable plastics — and that’s just the basics,” he explained.
He also noted that the United States has become more dependent on foreign countries for minerals.
“Countries like China have eaten our lunch when it comes to lithium refining. Lithium matters because it goes into all sorts of batteries, especially for electric vehicles,” he said. Lithium is also crucial for consumer electronics and energy storage.
Then he mentioned various sites where mining has been inhibited, thus contributing to a shortage of valuable minerals, starting with the huge amounts of lithium deposits in Oregon, where he said activists have impeded mining “that could support production of 1 million electric vehicles annually.”
“Why?” he asked rhetorically. “To protect the sage grouse — which, let’s be honest, is basically a fancy chicken.”
Turning to Nevada, he stated that lithium mining at the proposed Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine was “tied up” because of a lawsuit involving Tiehm’s buckwheat, which allegedly could become endangered.
Crenshaw noted that President Biden canceled leases in 2022 in parts of Minnesota that could provide copper, nickel, and cobalt from mining, also pointing out, “It’s also the only sizable place in the country where we get taconite.”
“Why does taconite matter? Steel,” he declared, explaining, “Taconite gets taken out of the ground and turned into steel. Steel goes into every structure you see around you. And right now, China is one of our biggest steel competitors.”
“National security aside — it’s lunacy to think that any other country is mining cleaner or with fairer labor practices. I’d rather give those jobs to Americans. For the sake of the planet and American workers, it pays for the U.S. to take the lead on this,” he argued.
“America is blessed with resources, resources we can use for things like solar panels and wind turbines and everything else we need. Why don’t radical environmentalists want to use them?” he concluded.