On Friday, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the Western Caucus, advocated for his amendment to the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act on the House Floor. The Congressman’s amendment would require a study of any land impacted by the legislation to determine if these areas contain geothermal resources or minerals needed for battery storage, renewable energy technology, or electric vehicles. The amendment passed with a 221-205 vote, 205 Republicans and 16 Democrats in support.
The full speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:
“Mr. Chair, I rise today in support of my amendment to require a study of any land impacted by this legislation to determine if these areas contain geothermal resources or minerals needed for battery storage, renewable energy technology, or electric vehicles.
Climate change is real and we must do what we can to reduce human emissions that are contributing to it. Renewable energy will play a role long into the future and we must ensure we have the resources needed to make solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries in America.
President Biden agrees. Just yesterday he issued an Executive Order to issue a review to ensure the United States has access to domestic critical minerals.
President Biden’s “Fact Sheet” on the Executive Order says quote, “while the U.S. is a net exporter of electric vehicles, we are not a leader in the supply chain associated with electric battery production. The U.S. could better leverage our sizeable lithium reserves and manufacturing know-how to expand domestic battery production”.
To state the obvious, if we are accidentally locking up lithium with this bill— while President Biden says we should do the opposite— this is something Congress should know.
This Amendment does NOT prevent any part of this lands package from being implemented as currently drafted. I am a strong supporter of locally driven public lands legislation, which is why I ensured my amendment would NOT impact any of these bills on the ground level.
There are parts of this package I support, especially Mr. Huffman’s included public lands bill. I supported that effort as a standalone bill last year.
This amendment is not a criticism of this lands package, it is about listening to science and combatting climate change.
More information is always better. More science is better. That is all this amendment does: gives us more science-backed information as Congress faces the issue of producing renewable energy in the future.”