WASHINGTON, D.C. – As President Joe Biden prepares to address the nation with his take on the State of the Union, new polling conducted by Maru Public Opinion for the National Mining Association (NMA) shows American priorities are aligned with those of the mining industry.
“In considering the State of Our Union, it’s vital to acknowledge that our electricity grid is under almost constant threat of failure and is growing less reliable by the day. At the same time, our mineral supply chains – which serve as the very foundation of virtually every supply chain – have never been more exposed. Despite a great deal of talk about each, very little is being done in Washington to address these crises of our own making,” said Rich Nolan, President & CEO of the NMA. “This polling shows that Americans want clear focus on these areas and it’s time for action.”
The polling was conducted from February 3-5, 2023, of 1,530 American voters.
Following a year in which natural gas prices skyrocketed and much of Europe was locked in an energy crisis, eight in 10 Americans (78 percent) want the U.S. to utilize a comprehensive energy strategy that includes a diverse mix of fuels including natural gas, coal, renewables and nuclear power, and six in 10 Americans (58 percent) said the U.S. should be taking a leadership role in pursuing the development and deployment of advanced coal and carbon capture technologies that can reduce emissions in the U.S. and overseas.
Consumers are paying more than they have in years for a supply of power that is less and less reliable when they need it most. Yet, despite warnings from the nation’s foremost reliability experts and clear voter concern, the Environmental Protection Agency continues to pursue policies that will it make the situation far worse.
- According to reporting from Bloomberg, as many as 40 planned coal plant retirements have been postponed or scrapped largely due to acute grid reliability challenges where utilities and grid operators have made it clear closing plants would be reckless.
- A winter reliability assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) noted that a “large portion of the North American Bulk Power Systems is at risk of insufficient electricity supplies during peak winter conditions.” It went on to highlight that, in one region, “Nuclear and coal-fired generation retirements total over 4.2 GW since the prior winter. Declining reserves are the result of few resource additions.”
- Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, commented on the assessment saying, “As the demand for electricity risks outpacing the available supply during peak winter conditions, consumers face an inconceivable but real threat of rolling blackouts. It doesn’t have to be this way. But absent a shift in state and federal energy policy, this is a reality we will face for years to come.”
- NERC’s CEO Jim Robb pleaded for energy policy that better recognizes how essential existing dispatchable generation remains to grid reliability. “We need to retain the existing resources as long as we don’t have an alternative. That’s the issue,” he told Public Utilities Fortnightly. “My first bit of advice is to… manage the pace of change. The second bit of advice we give is don’t underinvest in bridge fuel or the bridge issues to get us from where we are to where we want to go.”
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner (FERC) Mark Christie told Bloomberg, traditional sources of power are shutting down “at an unsafe pace” to keep up with the transition to wind and solar. He continued, “The red lights are flashing everywhere. We’re not going to have sufficient power supply.”
As Congress continues to grapple with the question of permitting and National Environmental Policy Act reform – with three congressional hearings planned this week that cover mineral production, sourcing and permitting – more than six in 10 Americans (62 percent) support a streamlined mine permitting process that would encourage more domestic mining for minerals and as a means to decrease our reliance on foreign countries (just 15 percent oppose and 24 percent don’t know).
While Americans support this emphasis on domestic mining and sourcing, USGS found in a report just last week, we are more import reliant than at any other time, with imports now making up more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption for 51 nonfuel mineral commodities – up from 2021, when we were import dependent for more than one-half of the U.S. apparent consumption for 47 nonfuel mineral commodities. China is the top supplier of the minerals our supply chains need.
As mineral demands are increasing, mines simply aren’t getting approved here in the U.S.. In fact, in recent weeks we’ve see the administration take bold steps to block mining across the U.S., placing us at a further competitive disadvantage to allies and geopolitical rivals alike.
Undertaken by Maru Public Opinion, this study conducted by its sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue February 3-5, 2022, among a random selection of 1,530 American adults who are Maru Springboard America online panelists. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender, and region to match the population according to US Census data which ensures the sample is representative of the entire adult population of the United States. Released studies are posted to Maru Public Opinion US Polls. Discrepancies in or between totals when compared to the data tables are due to rounding.
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