Energy & Environment

White House announces Defense Production Act will be invoked for EV battery materials

The Biden administration on Thursday formally announced President Biden will issue a directive invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to produce minerals used in electric vehicle batteries. 

“The President will issue a directive, authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to secure American production of critical materials to bolster our clean energy economy by reducing our reliance on China and other countries for the minerals and materials that will power our clean energy future,” the White House said in a statement released Thursday morning, in conjunction with the announcement of a new release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 

“Specifically, the DPA will be authorized to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries — such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese — and the Department of Defense will implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community, and tribal consultation standards,” the White House said. 

The directive “is specifically focused on the procurement of the tools needed to build batteries here in the United States batteries that will go into electric vehicles batteries that will help us support a cleaner electricity grid,” a senior administration official said on a press call Thursday morning. 

The law, first enacted by President Harry Truman during the Korean War, allows the president to name the development of certain materials as a priority for production in the national interest. Biden has previously invoked it to develop protective equipment relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and for firehose materials during the 2021 wildfire season.  

The formal announcement came a day after a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill the order was coming as soon as this week.

In the fact sheet, the White House said it is currently exploring the possibility of further uses of the DPA to promote clean energy development. While it did not offer details on what those uses might be, renewables advocates have long argued use of the DPA could reduce reliance on foreign oil production as the Ukraine conflict drives price spikes. 

Maya Golden-Krasner, the deputy director and senior attorney of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Hill earlier in the month that invoking the law could “aggressively accelerate manufacturing and deployment of renewable energy technologies.” 

Tags Biden Defense Production Act EV batteries global competitiveness Harry Truman Joe Biden Joe Biden

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