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Latta: Unleashing American Energy Leads to Energy Independence

Bowling Green, OH, October 13, 2022 | Claire Hurley (202-225-6405)

As a senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a member of the Energy Subcommittee, Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH5) recently made an energy-focused visit to Nevada to see American investments in the domestic critical minerals supply chain and hydroelectric power. The trip included visits to Albemarle’s Silver Peak lithium site, Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project, and the Hoover Dam.

“As the United States modernizes the electric grid and incorporates new technologies into our energy production, it is critical that these developments are happening domestically,” said Latta. “We are living during uncertain times where we could face economic and national security challenges if we become too dependent on foreign sources of energy and critical minerals. The United States must embrace an all-of-the-above energy strategy so that we can become North American energy independent.”

“On my recent visit to Nevada, I was able to see first-hand Albemarle’s lithium extraction operations at Silver Peak, which is the only lithium production location in North America,” continued Latta. “In the heart of the Clayton Valley Basin at Silver Peak, Albemarle is extracting brine from the canyon and capturing lithium in its liquid state. It is then converted into powder and later used in batteries, like those used in Electric Vehicles (EVs). Their work supplies the vast majority of the world’s lithium.

“Although lithium production is currently underway at Silver Peak, lengthy regulatory reviews are keeping the United States from harnessing its vast natural resources,” continued Latta. “Due to their ongoing permitting process with the Bureau of Land Management, Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project, one of only two major lithium-boron deposits globally, has not officially been put into operation; however, they stand ready on site to extract lithium and boron deposits once final approval is granted. Without boron, Toledo, Ohio, would be unable to retain its reputation as the ‘Glass Capital of the World’. Greenlighting domestic boron projects will ensure we can shrink our supply chains and reduce our dependence on countries like Turkey, which has the world’s largest supply of boron.

“In addition to seeing lithium-boron extraction operations, I was also able to witness the Hoover Dam’s hydropower capabilities,” continued Latta. “Since 1936 when it first went into operation, the Hoover Dam has been able to generate power through the sophisticated use of hydroelectricity. While being a fully operational power station, the Hoover Dam is also one of America’s greatest engineering marvels.

“It is because of our ingenious innovators, brilliant scientists, and dedicated workers that we have harnessed the ability to power our homes and businesses, fuel our cars, and grow our industries,” concluded Latta. “As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I’m committed to enacting policy that spurs innovation and grows our unique energy production right here in America.”

U.S. lithium production to aid Ohio’s vehicle manufacturing

Over the last year, vehicle manufacturers have made significant financial investments in the electric vehicle industry throughout Ohio, which would add upwards of 4,000 new jobs and a financial investment of about $5.8 billion. As we look to the future of electric and autonomous vehicles, these critical investments, and the potential to produce more lithium right here in America, will keep Ohio at the forefront of innovation and manufacturing in the United States.


Latta visits Albemarle Silver Peak in Nevada

Albemarle Silver Peak is the only lithium producing site in North America. Silver Peak is currently participating in a Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored research project with Argonne to develop a streamlined production of lithium hydroxide, which is primarily used in EV batteries. Products developed here are most notably used in the application of lithium batteries to create a sustainable and affordable energy storage technology that reduces greenhouse gases, enables life-saving portable medical devices, and diversifies the world's energy position.

Latta learns more about Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron project

Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge holds the largest known lithium and boron deposits in North America. Due to an ongoing permitting process with the Bureau of Land Management, the site is currently not operational. If the permits are greenlit, the mine will be able to produce about 24,000 tons of lithium per year and about 192,000 tons of boric acid per year. The site will be able to process these substances while leaving a small quarry footprint. Lithium and boric acid are used in batteries to power cell phones and electric vehicles.


Latta goes behind-the-scenes at the Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is considered an engineering marvel, eighty-five years after its final completion. During the visit, Latta was able to see first-hand the significance this major hydropower system provides to the greater southwest region of the United States. The Dam controls the flooding of the Colorado river, supplies energy to over 1.3 million people, provides water for 16 million people, and irrigates 1.5 million acres of surrounding land.


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