Native Tribe, Environmentalists Sue to Stop Climate-Friendly Mining Project

Jun 28, 2023

In some cases, it's hard to figure out who's right and who's wrong. This may be one of them. 

On Tuesday, a native tribe, along with others, tried to get a court to stop a mining project. They have called the project, “green colonialism.” They argue it’ll destroy a site of great cultural and historic value, and pollute the water. They say it will hurt animals. However, this $2.2 billion, 5,000-acre lithium mine in Nevada is supported by the Biden Administration. 

The government and a mining company say the site has the largest amount of lithium in the US. They say this mine is vital to Biden's goal of having half of the cars in the US be electric by 2030. Lithium batteries are used to power electric vehicles. They also store power on wind and solar farms.  

The mine is in northern Nevada. It's about 45 miles from the Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone reservation. Federal troops killed at least 31 Paiutes there in 1865. Work on the mine started in early March. This was after a court denied a request to delay it. 

Deb Haaland is the US interior Secretary. She supports the project. Haaland is Laguna Pueblo. She is also the nation’s first Indigenous presidential cabinet member. She told the AP “the need for our clean energy economy to move forward is definitely important.”

Michon Eben works to preserve Indigenous history in Nevada. She is upset that Haaland supports the project. She wishes Haaland would talk to the local people to understand their feelings.  

“You can’t mine your way out of a climate crisis,” Eben said.      

Photo from Reuters. 

Reflect: Do you think it is possible to balance the need for clean energy with the need to preserve cultural and/or environmental resources? Explain.

Based on the details in the article, who would most likely agree that the pros of the lithium mine project in Nevada outweigh the cons? (Common Core RI.5.9; RI.6.9)
a. environmentalists
b. the Biden administration
c. the Paiute-Shoshone tribe
d. Michon Eben
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