During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland shrugged off criticism of her decision to shut down a critical mineral mine in Minnesota, saying there are plenty of other job opportunities for Americans.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri criticized the decision to close mining on 225,504 acres near Duluth, Minn, a project that would create as many as 1,000 jobs.
Hawley accused Haaland of sacrificing American energy security for a radical climate change agenda, leading the nation to become increasingly reliant on China.
“Your decision to trade off our energy security in favor of a radical climate change agenda is making us more and more dependent on China. And, at the same time, you are blocking permits for mines in this country,” Sen. Hawley said. “The jobs for blue-collar workers in this nation are valuable resources. The livelihood and well-being of American families are valuable resources. … Why should those things for millions of Americans be sacrificed in favor of your agenda for radical climate change?”
Haaland responded, “Senator, I know that there’s like 1.9 jobs for every American in the country right now. So, I know there’s a lot of jobs.”
Hawley was stunned by her response: “Wait a minute. You’re telling me we’ve got too many jobs in the country?”
“Well, I’m saying that we don’t have enough people,” Haaland said. “That’s why we are having a hard time finding folks to work at our department.”
Hawley responded: “They are blue-collar workers. And you’re sitting here and telling me that we have too many jobs in this country. Are you serious? I want to take the strongest possible exception to that comment and that entire mentality, which I think is very honest. I think it reflects the mentality of your administration, which is, when it comes to blue-collar workers in this country, ‘You’re on your own. Good luck.'”
The Twin Metals mining area has up over 85% of the country’s cobalt reserves, as well as copper and other critical minerals needed for green technologies, such as electric vehicle batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines.