Energy Dept. plan on rare earth materials ‘nearing completion’

Some lawmakers and U.S. officials fear the absence of domestic production, and heavy reliance on China, could limit the growth of clean energy. The big fear: trading reliance on foreign oil for reliance on foreign rare earths.

“There’s no reason to panic, but every reason to be smart and serious as we plan for growing global demand for products that contain rare earth metals,” Sandalow said in testimony submitted to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which held a hearing on the issue Thursday.

The strategy will call for U.S. production and other avenues for obtaining the materials.

“To manage supply risk, we need multiple, distributed sources of clean energy materials in the years ahead. This means taking steps to facilitate extraction, refining and manufacturing here in the United States, as well as encouraging our trading partners to expedite the environmentally sound creation of alternative supplies,” Sandalow said. The plan also calls for greater recycling and re-use, and developing substitutes.