Op-Ed: Is Lithium Mining in Maine a Cost of Going Electric?


Whether they know it or not, both Maine Gov. Janet Mills and Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey have bet big on lithium, a critical element for making batteries for electric vehicles and other “green” technologies.

Their administrations, to varying degrees, have supported electrifying everything. Massachusetts is now following California as one of several states to mandate that only electric vehicles can be sold in the state by 2035; this de facto ban on internal combustion engine vehicles is part of the Bay State’s plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Soon, cars, trucks, trains, and appliances will increasingly be powered by electricity across our region and hand in hand with this major shift towards electrification will be a major increase in our need for lithium.

In 2022, President Biden and Congress passed the so-called Inflation Reduction Act and, in an effort to reduce dependence on “blood batteries” made from lithium and other minerals mined in places like Africa and China, tied consumer electric vehicle subsidies to those with battery inputs sourced from North America. Since the typical electric vehicle requires six times the mineral inputs of a conventional car, the US needs to step up its mineral production if these laws are to be followed.

This is where Maine comes in.

Click here to read policy director Nick Murray’s op-ed, co-authored with Paul Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, in CommonWealth Magazine.