Mar 31, 2022 - Economy

Biden uses Cold War powers to spark battery metals production

President Biden speaking in Washington, D.C., on March 30.

President Biden speaking in Washington, D.C., on March 30. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Joe Biden will issue a directive Thursday to boost domestic production of metals and minerals used in large capacity batteries, electric vehicles and the energy sector, according to the White House.

Why it matters: Adding the materials under the 1950 Defense Production Act is part of the Biden administration's efforts to curb rising fuel prices from supply chain disruptions and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

What they're saying: The White House said the materials will include lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese.

  • It added that the Department of Defense will "implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community, and tribal consultation standards."

The big picture: Beyond rising oil prices, the fallout from the invasion of Ukraine has also driven up the cost of battery inputs, like nickel. Russia is a major supplier of many of these materials.

  • The Trump administration used the Defense Production Act early on in the coronavirus pandemic to direct the private sector to ramp up the production of medical supplies and respirators.

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