Today's intersection: bridge fuels and lithium

Following the release of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's latest measurements Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman said that state's Nutrient Reduction Management Strategy is proving to be ineffective in controlling the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. But, Lehman is concerned that without further financial incentives from the Biden administration Republican welfare farmers will simply continue polluting waterways. 
Neither Biden plan — reduced biofuel blending mandates or increased governmental favoritism of electric cars and trucks — means the end of ethanol. Together, however, they make it plain that ag-based biofuels, and ethanol in particular, face a very tough future in the coming years. So, sooner or later, ever-greening American taxpayers will want to know why the nation continues to use ever-dwindling, irreplaceable natural resources to grow a federally-subsidized feedstock for a federally-mandated biofuel market that — mandate or not — is likely to shrink by at least one-third in the coming decade. [Alan Guebert: Ethanol's future is running out of gas]
President Joe Biden has established a task force to determine the social costs of carbon and has required federal agencies to immediately begin applying their findings in their regulatory actions and other decision-making. But, even if ethanol use has plateaued because electric vehicles are reducing the need to burn diesel fuel to grow corn Indigenous communities are fighting to keep foreign miners from gouging lithium from public ground held by the Bureau of Land Management. 
Demand is forecast to triple by 2025 as more automakers transition to electric motors. Jonathan Evans, CEO of Lithium Americas, says the resource will be mined and processed locally in Nevada - most of the global supply of lithium today is processed in China, he notes, making the US even more vulnerable to supply chain interruptions like recently during the pandemic. Tribal members are also curious whether the protest up at the camp will escalate like it did at Standing Rock in North Dakota, or possibly turn into another national environmental flashpoint, such as the battle over the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. [These Tribal Activists Want Biden To Stop A Planned Lithium Mine On Their Sacred Land]
Hydraulic fracturing can waste up to 16 million gallons of water per well so here in New Mexico that’s often too high a price to pay not to keep fossil fuels in the ground. In the Second Congressional District alone the oil and gas industry left hundreds of orphan wells but because New Mexico is flush with cash operators just walk away from them leaving the state and feds to do the work to cap them. 

Santa Fe-based Wild Earth Guardians joined other interested parties in suing the Trump Organization's BLM to stop oil and gas encroachment on Chaco Culture National Historic Park. New Mexico's congressional delegation celebrated the US House passage of then US Representative for New Mexico's Third District now Senator Ben Ray Lujan's amendment to halt drilling on public lands near the monument but the bill did not make it through Mitch McConnell's Earth hater controlled Senate.

Ending America's dependence on 'bridge fuels' is an idea whose time has come. 

The amount of plastic in the municipal waste stream dwarfs remaining oil and gas reserves in the lower 48 so fuels, even face masks manufactured with recycled materials, can be done while oxidizing less carbon. 

Ores containing lithium are hideously carbon intensive to mine and the General Mining Law of 1872 allows foreign companies to exploit public lands instead of sharing the pecuniary rewards with landowners. But some decommissioned coal fired power plants are being remediated in part by harvesting needed minerals from coal waste.

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