Sen. Sinema Wants Domestic Battery Production to Lead Climate, Energy Talks

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., wants the Senate to prioritize domestic battery production with future energy and climate discussions, according to an Axios report.

Sinema’s commitment to domestic battery production, along with the mining of raw materials in the United States, could be a boon to states such as Arizona and Nevada.

The Arizona senator’s support for advancing mining reforms runs similar to that of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. As such, the measure might have a good chance at passing through a 50-50 Senate. 

If successful, a mining-reforms package could be a major victory for the Democratic Party heading into the November midterm elections. It might also lead to significant revenues with electric vehicles and green energy initiatives.

Citing the Axios report, Sinema presented her case during a bipartisan Senate meeting on Tuesday, with Manchin also in attendance.

The rationale here: Both Sinema and Manchin might favor a compromise package that satisfies the various camps focused on climate concerns, energy independence and deficit reduction.

“Senator Sinema remains laser-focused on an all-of-the-above energy approach,” said Sinema spokesperson Hannah Hurley.

Hurley then added that Sinema “will continue her work increasing investments in American production of critical minerals and manufacturing of electric vehicles, semiconductors, battery storage, and other technologies that tackle our climate challenges, strengthen our national security, and help ensure our energy independence.”

For last year’s infrastructure package, which passed in the Senate with a reported value of $1.25 trillion, Sinema reportedly fought for a provision to study how abandoned mines could be used to extract critical minerals and materials.

And then last month, Sinema hosted a roundtable event with local mining and defense-industry officials. The reported missions: Tailoring supply-chain issues around battery production, and devising ways to reduce inflation.

Becoming more energy-independent might also hold great appeal to the moderate Manchin. In the meantime, however, foreign countries, including China, play a hefty role in supplying the United States with raw materials necessary for a clean-energy transition.

President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) on March 31, as a means of ensuring greater domestic production of rare earth minerals used for electric vehicle batteries.

“It is the policy of my administration that ensuring a robust, resilient, sustainable and environmentally responsible domestic industrial base to meet the requirements of the clean energy economy, such as the production of large-capacity batteries, is essential to our national security and the development and preservation of domestic critical infrastructure,” Biden said in a memo from that period.

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