The historic investments put in place by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are promising strides toward achieving a scaled domestic battery supply chain. For years, foreign governments, particularly China, have taken control over the battery industry through strategic investments at home and around the world. Now, BMTC is actively engaged in spotlighting the need for government action to even the global playing field and establish a strong, secure, sustainable North American battery supply chain. Following the coalition’s success in working with U.S. congressional allies to secure $6 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) to scale battery material processing, manufacturing, and recycling in the U.S., the coalition is now engaged in a variety of efforts to ensure a holistic approach to growing a resilient battery sector in North America. This includes informing implementation of the IIJA and IRA, and continuing to engage with the Biden White House, federal agencies, Congress, and external stakeholders about the industry.
Building off legislative successes, the coalition is dedicated to ensuring the implementation of DOE’s battery grants and other related programs is done to fully support domestic industry and its variety of players. We regularly hold meetings and roundtables with officials at DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Treasury, and the White House on both IIJA and IRA. Specific to IIJA, this includes engaging on DOE battery grant implementation, DOE’s battery workforce initiative, and EPA’s work on battery labeling guidelines and recycling standards.
Specific to IRA, BMTC has been focused on informing relevant officials on our member’s priorities related to the 30D Clean Vehicle Tax Credit and the 45X Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit. This includes advocating for clear and comprehensive critical mineral and battery component content requirements under 30D, and for clarity on eligibility requirements under 45X. BMTC is also tracking implementation of the 48C Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit, which is primed to support the continued growth of the domestic industry. To read BMTC’s responses to Treasury’s Requests for Information (RFIs) on IRA tax implementation, please visit our resources page.
BMTC is also engaged with the federal agencies on workforce development, environmental standards, supply chain traceability, permitting reform, and other initiatives aimed at developing the battery industry. Previous successes include securing synthetic graphite and nickel in the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) revised critical minerals list.
BMTC advocates in front of Congress on behalf of the North American battery supply chain to ensure policymakers understand the hurdles and opportunities that face this critical industry. This includes providing research and briefing materials to congressional offices, hosting roundtables and educational events, and providing input and coordinating industry stakeholders to ensure our member priorities are reflected in legislation. By securing congressional champions and continuously educating policymakers about the state of the industry, BMTC ensures that domestic battery sector interests are considered when issues such as standard setting, decarbonization, permitting reform, tax and trade policy, supply chain resiliency, and other relevant legislative areas are developed.
BMTC is also focused on continued partnership and coordination with other stakeholder groups including trade associations, think tanks, tribal groups, and governments at the national, state, provincial, local, and tribal levels to develop a public narrative that supports the success and growth of the battery industry in communities across North America. This engagement includes speaking at conferences, organizing public-private roundtables, and sponsoring receptions, happy hours, and other networking events to foster business development and educational opportunities for the battery community at large.
To address national security vulnerabilities, the U.S. must adopt a robust strategy to build and protect mineral and battery supply chains. It is imperative that the Defense Department (DoD) prioritize the battery industry, given the increased military use of batteries, as well as growing consumer demand for technologies dependent on strategic and critical materials – presenting a vulnerability for the defense industrial base.
In 2022, due to BMTC and other industry stakeholder efforts, the Biden Administration took a significant step by issuing a Presidential Determination directing the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III authorities to strengthen the U.S. industrial base for large-capacity batteries. This determination opened additional funding for the industry that will enable greater domestic resource development for critical materials in the battery supply chain. In 2022, the Ukraine Supplemental and IRA collectively allocated roughly $1 billion in additional funds for DPA to support, among other initiatives, battery mineral extraction, processing, and recycling. In addition to continuing to advocate for DPA Title III support of U.S. and Canadian battery mineral production, BMTC is committed to continued coordination and advocacy on securing U.S. military and defense systems by reducing the military’s dependence on foreign supply chains and scaling a robust North American battery sector.
Investments in domestic capabilities must be complemented by strategic trade and diplomatic policy. The U.S. has a unique opportunity to capitalize on our North American mineral resources and manufacturing expertise to build a secure battery industry that promotes job creation, safety, and high sustainability standards. North American industry provides a viable alternative to sources that rely on forced and/or child labor, have poor environmental records, and engage in various other malpractices. Doing so successfully, however, will require coordination with allies around the world, as other countries also focus on reducing dependence on China.
Coordination with Canada is of the utmost importance to securing North American battery supply chains. With shared existing geographical, environmental, and economic benefits, the U.S. and Canada are poised to complement one another’s mineral resources as well as critical technologies, energy, and defense industries. As a North American organization, BMTC is an outspoken advocate of the benefits of U.S.-Canadian coordination on battery supply chains and encourages both countries to expand upon efforts together.
The coalition is also engaging the U.S. government on trade policy impacting the industry. In January 2023, BMTC was appointed to serve on the newly formed Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) #5 on Critical Minerals and Nonferrous Metals. BMTC also applauds the formation of the Department of State’s (DOS) Clean Energy Resources Advisory Council (CERAC) as well as the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), but more is still needed.
China’s stranglehold on the battery materials market is not only due to their many strategic investments, but also market manipulation and unfair trade practices. Leveraging these programs along with others such as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Section 301 tariffs on Chinese battery materials, and other trade policy mechanisms will become increasingly necessary as the North American battery industry continues to grow and thrive.