The ugly truth behind the in-demand element
Lithium mining is back in the news these days, with activists occupying the site of a proposed mine in northern Nevada. (See episode 53 for my interview with Will Falk, one of the occupiers.) So I contacted Kevin Emmerich of Basin & Range Watch, to get more details about how lithium mining works, and what its ecological effects are. Basin & Range Watch is a desert defense group based in southern Nevada. They track industrial energy developments on public lands in the US southwest, and I consider them to be the premier online resource for learning about and keeping up-to-date with these projects, which include solar and wind.
Kevin & I spoke on January 30th, and we discussed the proposed lithium mine at Thacker Pass; other projects at Clayton Valley and Rhyolite Ridge; the massive use of water in mining operations; the unique ecology of these sites in the desert and the Great Basin; the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and how it was assaulted by the Trump administration; the prospects for exploitation and conservation of the desert under the Biden administration; the false choice of fossil fuels vs. “green” energy; and the importance of efficiency in reducing overall energy use and pollution.