Rare Earth Elements Discovered In The Bitterroots
"With names like neodymium and praseodymium, you might not be very familiar with these elements, but the reality is they are indispensable in the creation of things that you use on a daily basis."
They’re in your car, your headphones, your lightbulbs, your smartphone, your washing machine – and they might even be in your ski bindings or fly rod.
What exactly am I referring to? A group of 17 elements with unique magnetic, luminescent and catalytic properties, known as Rare Earth Elements (REEs). With names like neodymium and praseodymium, you might not be very familiar with these elements, but the reality is they are indispensable in the creation of things that you use on a daily basis.
With these elements being so vital to the modern American economy, you might expect the U.S. to control a large portion of the REE supply chain, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As of last year, China controls 63% of global REE mining and 85% of REE processing.
In Frontier Tech & Policy Analyst, Chris Isaacs’ latest column, he explains the precarious position this places the U.S.
“At the height of the Trump Administration’s trade negotiations, China’s leaders and state media floated the idea of implementing an export ban on the U.S., a plan that would have devastated the American economy. Without a reliable source of REEs, US high-tech manufacturing would face supply chain disruptions, skyrocketing costs and production delays that would make the post-COVID chip shortage look quaint by comparison.”
But as we have previously discussed, with the discovery of Rare Earth Elements on the U.S. Critical Materials’ Sheep Creek property in the Bitterroot Mountains, America could be on track to start receiving serious benefits, enabling our nation to bolster national security, assist in leveling the playing field with China and increase the supply of available REEs to American manufacturers.
“A few decades ago, the U.S. was highly dependent on foreign oil, but American innovation and ingenuity made the U.S. energy independent again. The shale gas revolution made the U.S. the world’s top oil and gas producer. This same innovation and ingenuity can make American REE independent and own the future.”
Stay tuned for Chris’ third column as he will unpack what the discovery in the Bitterroots means for Montana & the environment.
Welcome to the Frontier Team!
I am excited to announce that we have added a new Director of Development, Davis Boyer.
Davis developed a passion for the outdoors and nonprofit organizations during his time in the Boy Scouts of America. He went on to obtain a Political Science degree from Aurora University in Illinois, after which he worked as an aide to former Congressman John Shimkus in Washington DC, advising him on issues such as natural resources, federal lands and active forest management.
We couldn’t be more excited to have Davis join the Frontier Team. We look forward to the innovations he will bring to the table, enabling Frontier to grow to new heights.
Welcome to the team!
School Choice Debrief
After decades of falling behind on education options, the 2023 Montana Legislature passed substantial school choice options. Renowned Education Freedom advocate, Trish Schreiber explained the wins last week on Montana Talks with Aaron Flint.
Unambiguous After All
Last Wednesday, Governor Gianforte signed HB 971, a bill which revised the Montana Environmental Policy Act. The bill bars the DEQ from considering greenhouse gas emissions when conducting an environmental review. This bill was fast-tracked in response to Yellowstone County District Judge Michael Moses’ canceling the Laurel power plant’s air quality permit because greenhouse gas emissions weren’t considered. The judge claimed the MEPA statute’s language of “within Montana’s borders” unambiguously requires consideration of greenhouse gas emissions.
Our Take: As I wrote earlier this month, it was eminently debatable whether MEPA’s language was as unambiguous as the Judge claimed. The Legislature’s quick action made the statute language unambiguous and provided an important check on the balance of powers between the branches.
Graphic Of The Week