Dear editor,

The transition to clean energy technology is happening across the United States and throughout many parts of the world. In order for us to continue transitioning to a green economy, we must obtain resources such as zinc, nickel, copper and other clean energy minerals (including gold) that are needed to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, electrical circuitry and other emerging clean energy technologies. Our society needs these critical clean energy minerals if we are going to have the ability to transition to a low carbon future and embrace the green economy.

Recently, Wisconsin-based Green Light Metals (a.k.a. Green Light Wisconsin) submitted an application to Marathon County for exploration drilling in the town of Easton located east of Wausau. This is not only a great opportunity for Marathon County and Wisconsin, but the U.S. as well because it will provide not only economic benefits, but it will also help the U.S. secure our domestic supply chain, for example.

Western countries have long relied on other countries for these needed resources, but there is a better way. Instead of relying on foreign countries, we can extract minerals needed for the clean energy transition right here in Wisconsin. By extracting these critical clean energy minerals right here at home, we can strengthen our domestic supply chains and further increase our national security.

The U.S. and the state of Wisconsin have in place significant environmental and safety standards and regulations for exploration and potential mine development. It is important to note that recent changes to Wisconsin’s laws relating to mining underscore strong environmental standards. Each step in the mining life cycle requires science, engineering, technology, community involvement and careful planning, and is governed by stringent state and federal environmental protection regulations, as well as financial assurance obligations. 

It’s time to recognize we can mine safely and responsibly, all while providing significant economic benefits to local communities, such as family paying jobs. Supporters of the environment should be cheering on mining of critical clean energy minerals that will finally help transition us to a low carbon future and green economy that benefits us all. 

Nathan Conrad, executive director, Natural Resources Development Association

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.