Dems express ‘grave concern’ about funding for rare earths

By Hannah Northey | 05/03/2024 06:19 AM EDT

The ranking member of a House panel focused on China wants more action from the Biden administration.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.).

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), ranking member of the special House committee focused on China, during a hearing last year. Alex Brandon/AP

The top Democrat on the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party is urging the Biden administration to focus more federal funding of rare earth elements, a key ingredient of wind turbines, electric vehicles and defense applications.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, in a letter shared with E&E News, called on Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to prioritize projects for processing rare earth elements and pointed to $150 million in federal funding the agency announced last year for critical minerals generally. That funding through the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management is tied to the bipartisan infrastructure law.

Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida, who is also a member of the committee, co-signed the letter.


“The production and processing of rare earth elements (REEs) is of grave concern to the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party,” Krishnamoorthi and Castor wrote. “I would like to encourage the Department of Energy to consider the importance of REE projects in the application process.”