How will Democrats react to lithium found in fracking?

One of the biggest problems with making the move to the all-electric vehicle dream is the need for lithium, and there are two major drawbacks to it.

For one, lithium is in very limited supply, and two, a lithium mine is a major scar on the Earth that is worse than any strip mining operation I’ve ever seen.

The process to obtain lithium so far has led to child labor in third world countries along with some toxic processes.

Couple that with the new studies revealing that using electric vehicles really doesn’t reduce the carbon footprint, which was the pipe dream we were told would be the outcome of the all-electric future.

Demand for electric vehicles spiked and has since subsided well below the benchmarks that the far left wanted.

In Kansas, there are 7,550 registered electric vehicles, making up 0.29 percent of all registrations.

However, Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency, without a vote of Congress, set a mandate that two-thirds of all new cars and trucks sold in the United States had to be electric in eight years.

They have since backed off that mandate a bit, but it is still an impossible number since the public has not warmed up to electric vehicles, and manufacturers have cut production as electric vehicles simply aren’t moving off the lots.

The public still prefers a vehicle operated by fuel.

A recent discovery in Pennsylvania, however, might leave the far left energy zealots scratching their heads.

It turns out that America does have lithium — quite a bit of it in fact.

To get it, all we need to do is process the byproducts of natural gas wells that involve fracking.

That’s right, lithium is being found  in fracking wells.

And lots of it.

According to a University of Pittsburgh study of the Marcellus Shale basin, there’s enough lithium to meet nearly half of the need in the United States.

It’s an important discovery since an average electric vehicle requires 18 pounds of lithium.

According to Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, a Republican from Pennsylvania., “Nearly 40 percent of our nation’s domestic need for lithium can be found right here as a byproduct of fracking. I fully expect every single Democrat to join Republicans in supporting domestic natural gas development.”

Both natural gas and lithium are helpful to meeting the nation’s energy needs both now and in the future, but will the far left be willing to make such a compromise.

One of the biggest hurdles to getting the public to switch to electric vehicles is the cost. EVs require much more material. Not only do they use lithium for the batteries, but they also need a lot more copper. The Honda Accord uses 40 pounds of copper with a regular fuel engine, but that goes up to 200 pounds for an electric Honda Accord.

Still, producing our own lithium through fracking accomplishes two key goals. For one, it can be done much more environmentally friendly as opposed to a massive strip mining operations. And two, it would be domestically produced, reducing our dependence on foreign nations that may not have our best interests at heart.

According to Rep. Reschenthaler, there are already 100,000 union jobs working the fields in Pennsylvania alone, and this discovery of lithium as a byproduct of fracking would create additional jobs to handle the additional resource.

This discovery isn’t limited to Pennsylvania. Other lodes are expected in West Virginia, Ohio and elsewhere. It is highly probably that fracking in Southwest Kansas could lead to another boom of not only natural gas but lithium as well.

In addition, by using the wastewater to extract lithium, the cost of remediating the water is reduced, making the overall operation that much more profitable.

But will the political differences work against the effort that would now help each side reach its goals?

After all, natural gas helps heat homes and is used as a heat source for cooking. 

But the Biden Administration is pushing to outlaw gas stoves and heaters, forcing homeowners to buy less efficient electrical units.

Natural gas is also used to produce electricity.

But will the left be willing to compromise on using natural gas appliances in an effort to build a lithium supply large enough to meet the demands required by the electrical dreams?

It’s a reasonable compromise, but those don’t seem to move very far in Washington, D.C., these days. We’ve replaced common sense solutions with dogma and radical agendas. I’ve had one far left person tell me that even if lithium was worse for the planet it was okay as long as it brought an end to fossil fuels.

When your zeal to eliminate one perceived evil with an even worse evil just to claim victory, common sense has left the building.

Will the discovery of lithium in fracking operations be met with joy that America can provide its own resources for the changes coming to the marketplace, or will it be rejected since it also includes fracking?

I fully expect this to create an additional rift on the left, separating those who are truly open minded from those driven by the green narrative.

Slowly the far left is showing it is only interested in disrupting human existence rather than helping strike a balance with nature. Expect the resistance to reject it, but with hope in the reasonably minded, this could be a great game changer in moving energy policy forward.

Editor | watt@kaninfo.com

Earl Watt is the owner and publisher of the Leader & Times in Liberal, Kansas. Watt started his career in journalism in 1991 at the Southwest Daily Times. During his career, the newspaper has won a total of 17 Sweepstakes awards from the Kansas Press Association for editorial content and 18 Sweepstakes awards for advertising. Watt has been recognized with more than 70 first place awards for writing in categories from sports and column to best front pages, best sports pages and best opinion pages. Watt is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and is the descendant of several patriots who fought for America's freedom and independence.