Statement: The Biden White House’s Use of Defense Production Act to Increase Mining is Short-Sighted and Destructive

We demand a just transition to renewable, clean energy. Using a Cold-War era program to boost hard rock mining without reforming outdated regulatory laws will create sacrifice zones across Nevada’s rural and tribal communities 


Reno, NV — Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to sign an executive order to bolster hard rock mining in the United States in an effort to lessen our dependence on fuel from foreign, often hostile, resources. Hard rock mining in the United States is regulated by a 150 year old law that is not enough to protect Nevada public lands and tribal sovereignty


The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada released the following statement:


“The mining industry in Nevada has already left nearly 200,000 abandoned mines that neither the state or federal government have funds to clean up. Allowing the mining industry to speed through already subpar permitting barriers to expand production will no doubt lead to more polluted groundwater and abandoned pit lakes. On top of the lax regulations, the mining industry pays no royalty for mining federal land and in Nevada, mining has a constitutional tax cap and deductions that they fought tooth and nail to keep, at a time that Nevadans needed support the most. 


“Hard rock mining in the United States is governed by a law that is the same age as President Calvin Coolidge if he were alive today. President Coolidge died 89 years ago. It is nonsense to fast track more hard rock mining without first updating the General Mining Act of 1872 to ensure tribal sovereignty, thorough reclamation, and that front line communities benefit from these operations, not just multinational corporations who stand to make billions. 


“Moving away from fossil fuel dependence is not only long overdue, but critical to mitigating the current climate crisis. However, rushing through the production of minerals such as lithium and copper could cause devastating and irreversible damage to front line communities in rural and tribal areas of Nevada. Families across the country live with pollution from hard rock mining–one of the most toxic industries in the state–but it’s the taxpayers, not the polluters, who too often pay the cleanup bill. 


“The antiquated regulations allow mining corporations to profit from federal lands with no repercussions or accountability is absolutely unacceptable. President Biden’s Executive Order will only exacerbate those impacts and further the negative public health outcomes associated with polluted groundwater and air.


“The life of every electric vehicle starts with a dirty mine. The Defense Production Act should not be used to create electric vehicles for the benefit of corporations at the expense of indigenous people. This is a violation of indigenous peoples’ human and cultural rights due to the lack of tribal consent and the destruction of sacred land. We urge the Biden Administration to withdraw the Executive Order and for congress to reevaluate what national defense means and repurpose it to defend and improve the living standards of Americans. The water, land and air of Americans have been contaminated and local & state governments are relying on federal reform of the Mining Law of 1872.”


Read quotes from directly impacted community members: HERE




The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada was founded in 1994 by Nevada activists to build a more fair and just Nevada that puts people and planet first. We organizing with front line communities and directly impacted leaders for policy changes and community investments that improve the lives of Nevadans