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Deep Green Resistance comes to Vancouver

Lithium is critical to decarbonisation, but some activists oppose mining it
First Nations protest Nevada lithium mine that Vancouver company plans to build. | Max Wilbert

The inevitable schism between conservationists and climate change activists within the broader environmental movement has resulted in a small protest landing on the doorstep of a Vancouver headquartered company that plans to build a new lithium mine in Nevada.

Lithium Americas (TSX:LAC) is planning to build a US$1.3 billion hard rock lithium mine in Nevada, which has prompted opposition from a handful of members of the Fort McDermitt Tribe and their supporters from a group called Deep Green Resistance.

Some ranchers in the region also oppose the Thacker Pass mine, according to a spokesperson for the group.

On Monday, three local protestors sympathetic to the Thacker Pass protest set up outside Lithium America’s head office in Vancouver.

Located roughly 130 miles northeast of Reno, the Thacker Pass mine would be an open-pit operation that threatens old-growth sagebrush habitat, according to the group opposing the mine.

Lithium is, of course, a critical element for lithium-ion batteries which power electric vehicles and large-scale batteries for storing wind and solar power. It is therefore critical to the green transition advocated by major environmental groups, like the Sierra Club.

Nicola Rodriguez, a local member affiliated with Deep Green Resistance, told BIV News that other mainstream environmental groups like the Sierra Club do not support the campaign against the Thacker Pass mine project.

“Those kinds of environmental groups tend to be pro green energy,” Rodriguez said. “What we’re trying to demonstrate here is that stuff that seems green on the surface isn’t actually green.”

Deep Green Resistance bills itself as “a radical environmental movement that views mainstream environmental activism as being ineffective.”

It essentially espouses a degrowth philosophy that opposes the notion of solving one problem arising from industrialization – climate change – with another kind of industrial activity.

“These mines release toxic chemicals, they take up a ton of energy, they use up a lot of water,” Roriguez said. “Ultimately, industrial growth forever is the real source of the problem and there has to be other ways for a society to live without continually extracting from the earth.”

The Thacker Pass project received approval from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in January, though there are still other regulatory approvals needed. Members of the Fort McDermitt Tribe and their supporters from Deep Green Resistance aren’t the only ones opposed to the mine, however.

At least one rancher in the area is also opposed and has filed a lawsuit the Bureau of Land Management, according to the Associated Press.

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