April 14, 2021

Avoiding Bandaids for Bullet Wounds - Providing Solutions with Rare Earth Minerals [Ep. 67]

Avoiding Bandaids for Bullet Wounds - Providing Solutions with Rare Earth Minerals [Ep. 67]

How often do you use your cell phone, computer, or vehicle? Do you expect a hospital to have necessary medical equipment, lights to flip on with a switch, or clean water to flow from your faucet? What do all these have in common? Rare Earth Minerals. Most people are unaware of how much our everyday lives are dependent on these essential elements. America has a domestic supply, yet we are dependent on other (often hostile) nations to meet nearly 90% of our demand. Why? In this fascinating episode, Linda interviews Drew Horn, an expert with White House and Department of Energy experience, to discuss how policy proposals can often be like bandaids for bullet wounds, applying ineffective solutions to complex problems. Listen to learn how you can help promote better solutions to address this challenge. 

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Linda J. Hansen: Thank you for joining us today.  If you are a frequent listener you know that I have had many episodes related to energy issues.  Energy issues are near and dear to my heart due to my work with eGeneration Foundation and that is where I first learned about rare earth minerals.  The rare earth elements are so important to our energy independence, our national defense and so much that we do.  I was referred to this guest by a mutual friend.  I’m so glad to introduce you to Drew Horn.


Drew Horn:  Thank you so much, Linda.  So happy to be here and honored to be a guest on your show, so thank you.


Linda:  Well, I’m honored to have you.  Thank you for taking time.  I’d like to introduce you to our listeners.  Drew Horn is a trailblazer in securing critical minerals supply chain to serve business and national security needs.  With this vision in mind, he co-founded Greentech Minerals Advisory Group, a strategic consulting firm dedicated to building and facilitating responsible and economically-sound growth in the United States renewable energy and critical minerals supply chain.  The firm dedicates itself to matching public and private capital to build advance materials growth in a manner that supports the energy and technological needs of the future.  


Drew’s time in the federal government, private sector and active-duty military service gave him extensive leadership experience in business management and national security.  During his time in the US federal government, he served as a senior policy executive at the Departments of Defense and Energy, Offices of the Vice President and the Director of National Intelligence.  Mr. Horn led government-wide efforts in economic security and intelligence.  This entailed creating and implementing a new US strategy for building the national critical mineral supply chain, as well as a new international energy plan focused on optimization of renewable energy efforts worldwide.  


Prior to his federal service, he worked as a strategic management consultant.

There he managed teams that provided intelligence and risk analysis for clients in the national security space.  He also spent ten years serving our country in uniform as a commissioned officer in the United States military, first as a United States Marine and then as a Special Forces officer in the United States Army. He has extensive combat experience in Afghanistan as a commander of a direct-action commando team and successfully completed three combat deployments to Afghanistan and one to Iraq as a Marine.  So, Drew, thank you for your service to our nation both in uniform and out of uniform. Thank you so much for your service to our nation.


Drew: Well, thank you so much for your support and also for your service.  I really appreciate it and I’m just so happy to be here.


Linda: Well, thank you.  I know when we talked earlier, I shared that my son is a Marine and families also serve.  To all the military families out there, we say, thank you.


Drew: Thank you for that as well, too.  That really is something that can’t really be overemphasized how families really are a big part of that service.  So I, Semper Fi and I appreciate all that you and your son have done, too.


Linda:  Well, yes, Semper Fi.  So I wanted to have you on to talk about the importance of rare earth minerals in terms of America’s energy independence, but also in terms of our national security.  I know that they’ve been crucial to our energy supply chain, but they’re also crucial to our military and defense.  They’re even crucial to our space program.  So I’d love for you to just give our listeners a basic education on rare earth minerals and why we need to pay attention to this here in our country.


Drew: Well, gladly and thank you for giving me the opportunity.  I guess I’d probably say that most people don’t really think that minerals and metals and mining are necessarily always the most critical or exciting of topics.  I get it a little bit because I’ve specialized in this for a while now so some people will sort of jokingly or even seriously refer to me as the “mineral’s guy.” I think that brings up images of people studying geology.  When I was in college, people used to jokingly call them “rocks for jocks” courses where you learned about some of the basic elements of geology.  But what I really find exciting about this is that with the advancement of science and technology, these minerals and metals and precious elements are vital and in literally everything, everything you can possibly imagine.  It’s hard to overstate the importance of having a steady supply to create all of the devices and technology of our tomorrow in our hopes and dreams.  


A lot of people like to look at sort of solutions and look at ways to move into the future.  So whether it’s in defense or renewable energy, i.e.—wind, solar, hydro, your next generation space components, computer components, technology—they all are heavily reliant on what we term as critical minerals, but essentially are minerals that need to come out of the ground.  They need to be separated, refined, processed and then made through several series of developments into commodities and components that need to go into all of these devices that we love and use.  So everything from your cell phone to every electronic component in your house to the F-35s, even the space ships that are flying with SpaceX or NASA.  They all are heavily dependent on these elements. 


It’s something that I have found to be a huge passion of mine.  I’m fortunate enough to lead the US government’s efforts on this with some other really distinguished scientists— very impressive people—the last few years and now I’m trying to do this on the private sector because our future literally is at stake.  Not only is it very important from an economic and national security perspective, which we can get into in greater detail because there’s a lot to unpack there, but you can’t have any of these hopes and dreams of this green new deal or green energy revolution without realistically building this portion into it; it’s just impossible.  Any of this grandeur planning is heavily dependent on developing the supply chain for these critical elements.  I’m happy to talk about it, really trying to raise awareness.  I would say that for multiple reasons the security not only of our children but of our children’s children are heavily depend upon this and trying to find some good solutions because I think it will be good for everybody.


Linda: Well, I have been drawn to this issue because of the security issue and I really don’t like the idea of us being dependent on hostile nations for some of these critical elements.  Maybe you could talk a little bit about that.  I know whether it’s China or Iran or Russia, we can be dependent on some of these things, but we can produce them here.  What I learned in my work is that we just really have to change the regulatory environment and some of the procedures that are allowed in terms of the mining and things.  Maybe you could touch on that and why is this an issue?  What kind of policies went wrong before that now we have to look and correct them, steer them towards the future?


Drew: Absolutely.  I appreciate that question.  It’s a really good one.  So I would say that the national security angle in some ways is the strongest need for action right now.  I mean, that’s how we came to look at it, was from specifically that national security vulnerability.  And so the reality is the world has some maligned actors that are pretty strong and quick moving right now.  I don’t mean to pick on any particular country or government, but there’s a little bit of competitiveness and even adversity in terms of some of our relationships across the globe.  I think you don’t need to look further than what happened with the Covid-19 pandemic, not only in the transmission of the virus itself, but also the response of various countries and then the attempted hoarding of PPE and related equipment, to see that supply chains are probably our most vital vulnerability to try to protect and shore up.  And so building supply chains that can’t be threatened or closed off or used to blackmail us is of the utmost importance.  


The nations that you named are trying to position themselves to have a position of power where they can negotiate from and if possible hold the United States and other nations hostage and basically blackmail them into doing things that they would not do otherwise, that are not in the interest of our countries or our populations, but also are not in the interest of free market principles that I think most people around the globe support such as free trade, equal access of different populations to key goods and services.  These things are directly threatened when a CCP-led effort to try and horde and weaponize the supply of key components is put into place and we don’t respond in kind.  


The how of how we got here is that this is not something that everyone is always drawn to because it sounds like mining.  It sounds like something that is new but it’s a lot more than that.  When you’re actually building up supply chains that are needed for everything like this, the ability to control that exclusively is the ability in some ways to kind of rule the world.  And that’s kind of what we’re looking up against if we don’t actually respond. It doesn’t mean that we have to go into some sort of extremely divisive trade form where we demonize or don’t deal with other nations around the globe.  You know we need to and we want to have relations with China and Russia and others.  It’s just a necessity of global trade.  But what we don’t want to do is fall into a predatory trap where essentially we are dependent on them and they use that as leverage over us to control us.  That’s the direction we’re currently heading and we need to take immediate steps to remedy that.  


Anyone that looks at the logic and the math and the numbers behind this would find that to be not a partisan or political opinion, but just a fact.  The reality of the situation is that of the most critical elements we use for, like I said, pretty much everything from tech to energy production, medical devices, also defense purpose, space travel, computers, advanced automotives, you name it.  Pretty much 90% or more of the supply of that comes from China right now.  We’ve allowed this to happen because they’ve been very forward thinking about trying to posture this way and there’s an admirable aspect even, I would say, of that.  


I’d say the problem comes in with the malign intent long-term which they’ve been very clear about, which is to control access to these key elements and then weaponize them. And there’s really no other way to put it.  And it’s not just the United States that is going to suffer from this or is at risk. It’s part of the Belt Road Initiative to kind of control access to a lot of these natural resources.  


They are essentially economically enslaving a lot of the developing world.  Take a look at Africa.  They essentially find countries that are in a desperate situation, offer them loans they know they won’t be able to pay back, and then they very effectively allow or wait for these countries to default on these loans as always planned and then use that as essentially blackmail leverage to build military bases, to take over vast amounts of resources at a completely unfair cost.  You name it.  


This has been going on for decades now.  And finally, maybe about five years ago, the United States started waking up to this and realizing we have a lot of these resources ourselves that either we are not developing or we’re just developing them in basic form and then selling them exclusively to China.  Not only is that illogical, it’s bad business and it’s really bad long-term economic and national security.  And what we need to fix it is really no magic wand or really a crazy painful change, but simply to just have a better more logical view of how we actually source and develop these resources.  Part of this means holistically looking at the way we do regulate what we do versus the rest of the world.  


Now a lot of us have seen a situation where we all want to clean up our environment.  That is something I think everyone wants regardless of your views on climate change and how much of the climate is actually affected by humans.  I don’t even try to take a position on this because my whole view on this is renewable green energy is something everyone can get on board with if it’s done in an intelligent and business-fundamental driven way.  That is what we advise.  That’s what my firm focuses on.  That’s what as a public leader in the US government, I always focused on.   It was never trying to determine whether we wanted to develop our environmental capabilities.  It was just to do it in an intelligent way.  


If you go into this looking at the United States as the bad guy and saying, “Well, we’re going to regulate everything out of existence inside the United States.”  You’re actually having a severely detrimental effect on the global impact because all that does is take the United States, which is heavily regulated and has some of the cleanest mining production energy practices across the globe, and shuts it down here and forces it to places like China and other areas where there’s no regulation, where you’re basically engaging in mining and extraction and processing technology that is sort of, that was developing in the 1800’s and has a massive carbon footprint and everything that we try to regulate against here.  So it makes no sense from that perspective and additionally just to finalize my thought on this, it takes a common sense approach on how we actually do processing and refinement of even waste materials in the United States.  


I’ll tell you one of the most ironic things about this is that a lot of these minerals and elements are actually present in high degrees of concentration inside coal waste.  If you look at kind of the coal situation across the United States and this is kind of important to me personally because a lot of Americans and my extended family and my descendants were all coal miners.  I’m very much a long time descendent of coal mining and the coal process which at one point was a very rough and at times dirty trade.  All of our descendants, we called them the breaker boys.  They would sit on a conveyor belt, dig through slag, and pick out coal.  Kids would go down into the mines and do this at age six and beyond and anyways the whole point of this is that you created these large waste piles called gob piles or slag piles depending upon which state you’re in.  But what they were is essentially big mines of hazardous waste essentially.  People are still getting black lung from breathing the dust that blows off of them.  


But we’re in a situation now where things have flipped.  The waste pile is now the pile of value.  It’s a literal…I would say it’s a gold mine except it’s far more valuable than a gold mine.  But we’ve got a situation because of regulation and because of improper interpretation of mining code and things like that.  We have been tasked by environmental agencies and groups to clean up these piles and they can’t do it in a way where they can extract minerals needed for renewable energy for all of your wind and solar, everything everyone loves on the environmental side.  You can pull this out of waste and clean up the waste at the same time if you can simply make the regulation make sense because right now a lot of states, to go through one of these waste piles, just to clean it up and to pull out the green energy elements outside of it, it’s considered by a lot of these states as mining, so it’s basically under siege right now.  


So there’s no actual real solution unless we get back to a point of sanity and I would say not common sense but at least logical plans to try to solve this problem because right now we’re in the impasse sort of place where we can’t do anything.  And what’s happening is all these wastes continue to contaminate rivers and local areas nearby.  There’s a clear method to actually go about turning trash into cash, as we call it.  Cleaning up the environment and building up our critical stockpile need for defense, construction, tech construction, green energy construction.  We just have to get out of our own way, is what I would say.


Linda: Well, if government would get out of its own way we would have a lot of things improved.   (Both laughing)  I really appreciate that and I think that that brought the listeners up to date.  I’m sure there are many people listening who are thinking, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t have any idea about this.”  And I know that when I first started learning about this I was astounded at how readily available these elements or minerals are to us, but just like so often we have a regulatory environment that is a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  


Drew: Right.  Absolutely.


Linda: I know that with my work with the nuclear industry, what we were trying to do with small modular reactors, molten salt reactors, and things, really trying to move that regulatory environment into the future in a sense so that light water reactors could have their regulatory rules, but the small modular reactors could have theirs.  You mentioned common sense; you mentioned logical; but a lot of times as people who work in these spaces know sometimes there just is no logic or common sense.  It’s almost like a patchwork of things that have happened over time without really connecting all the dots of how all the effects happen.  So I really appreciate people like you who take a deep dive into the issues to truly understand them and bring that advice to the policy makers in a sense.  You are a policy maker.  But I think, too, during the last four years, during the Trump administration, I really saw an increased attention to this issue within the energy department just as I saw this just become more in the news.  I think there was more awareness among policy leaders.  I’m sure that you had something to do with that.  Thank you for bringing it to the forefront.


Drew: I appreciate you mentioning sort of the uptake on this.  The one thing I would say, and thank you for the kind words, is that the new administration is continuing a lot of the efforts.   And I think that’s to their credit, too, because this is one of those things that I think is as bipartisan or non-political as it gets.  It really just comes down to, “Do you want to solve this problem? Or do you want to make it worse?”  I hate to put things in sort of black and white basic terms like that, but it really comes down to that choice.  Either you are trying to solve the problem or you are trying to benefit from the disease so to speak.


Linda: You bring up a very good point that this is a nonpartisan issue.  This is something that affects every single person in America—young, old, every business, everybody.  It’s something that we all need to pay attention to.  And unfortunately politics often clouds the issue and often hampers progress because other things get in the way with these relationships with other countries, or deals that are made.  So if you could give some clear points to policy makers, to legislators, to those on Capitol Hill who are defining policy for the energy industry, the military defense industry, what are some simple things you would say?  I know it’s not a simple thing.  (Drew laughing)  I’m sure something comes to your mind first.  What is it?


Drew:  Well, I appreciate that.  I honestly think it’s a little bit more simple than people make it out to be, which is, “What are you actually trying to do?”  That’s really the question you have to ask.  If there’s a problem that you’re trying to fix, are you going to try to identify solutions and act on them or are you going to just simply try to create more divisiveness, because that’s what I see on this subject.  Others as well, but the reality is the numbers drive what needs to be done here.  There is a certain science and mathematics to this that I think is hard to argue with; it’s hard to politicize. And it’s hard to make into a partisan issue if you’re giving it an honest evaluation.  


So my view is, look at the basic hard facts, the mathematics and science.  If you do that, the solution presents itself and the solution here is to find the least environmentally damaging and, I would say, trade vulnerable and at risk methods of building up your supplies in these critical areas.  There’s a clear defense national security component which is, in order to maintain security and safety for our nation, we need all the supplies necessary to build F-35’s or body armor.  Or if you want to take graphite and graphene, you can kind of name your specific device or equipment that you’re trying to build, but we need to have those in certain quantity in order to maintain the security posture that doesn’t leave us open to attack.  I think that’s a pretty universally agreed upon concept or principle.   


If we’re dependent upon someone who is potentially an adversary, who pretty much all of the necessary elements to build up our defenses, we’re pretty open to a problem down the road because all they need to do is quite the obvious, which they signal they are more than willing to do in the last couple of decades, which is turn off supply and we’re in a huge, huge area of hurt.  It doesn’t take anyone to have some sort of advanced degrees or incredibly developed understanding of any particular scientific background to understand that is not a good situation to be in. And I would say also, if you want green energy and if you believe that reducing emissions and finding advances in technology in the energy space is key to the health of various nations of humanity of the planet, then you need to come up with scientifically-based and founded solutions which are not using sort of antiquated wind and solar methods that are not efficient, that produce as much waste as a lot of your fossil energy sources of energy production, but to find solutions that are comprehensive and they fit the problem set.  I’m not against wind or solar, but I do think you need to have a comprehensive view on that and we need to increase and continue to expedite technological advances in things like wind and solar and battery storage so that you’re actually finding a solution and not just creating another problem that might be just as bad.


You know, I guess I would say, look at the various waste piles and waste facilities for old wind and solar and old batteries around the United States and the globe.  A lot of them are as bad as some of these abandoned coal mines, just to be totally honest.  Don’t just come up with a band-aid for a bullet wound, so to speak.  Don’t come up with a solution that looks good and it’s good PR, but it actually makes things worse.  Try to find a comprehensive solution.  Look holistically.  Look at the actual problem you’re trying to solve and let science and mathematics and logic determine what the best solution is, not partisan politics.  And I think if you follow that basic guideline, you’re going to end up making things better not making them worse.  That, which is kind of my very sophisticated fundamental concept of trying to live my life which is, I’d rather make things better and not worse.  If I can do that, then at least I’m doing something.


Linda: Absolutely.  You talked about different types of energy.  I know you and I were talking before this interview, too.  They’re all part of the energy infrastructure for our nation.  I mean, we want to have a stable grid.  We want to have reliable power.  We don’t want to see the black outs that we’ve seen in California.  We don’t want to see issues like we had in Texas this year with the storms and so many people were out of power and the wind turbines were frozen.  There are just so many things here that, like you said, “A band-aid to a bullet wound,” I think has been applied in terms of our energy infrastructure.  


So if we’re looking at clean energy, a clean reliable base of energy, we’ve got…we need to look at this new generation nuclear that is so safe, so carbon free; it is just amazing technology.  So we’ve got that.  We’ve got the fossil fuels that can really help to provide that base load power as well.  But with all these new technologies we can do it so much more efficiently, like you even mentioned using the waste from the coal.  Now we have new technology that could really take care of that, but because of the regulatory environment, we can’t utilize that to our best abilities.  So we need to really work on this.  


So to people who are listening, when you think about politics, a lot of people just think about campaigns.  Unless you’re involved in your industry association or something you don’t realize how much things affect you.  So what would you tell either the average listener today, like somebody who might be listening and has no clue on this, average citizen, but also the business owner who needs to have this energy supply for their business?  What would you tell them to do in terms of how to impact this policy for the future?


Drew:  So, I guess I’d probably break it down to three key things.  First off, I’d recommend that everyone educate themselves and do it in a completely all-encompassing manner.  Don’t go to just one source.  Try and challenge any assumptions that you’re hearing.  Learn as much as you can about it in an unbiased way so that you actually own the information and are not owning bias or propaganda, because there’s a lot of that out there.


Linda: Exactly.


Drew:  I’d say, two, I would apply a lot of these scientific fundamentals to what you’re trying to look at in terms of solutions forward, and apply business fundamentals, too, because we have to be realistic when we’re talking about engaging the private industry.  It has to be bought.  That’s just the fundamental of business and we’re a free market economy so we have to come up with profitable solutions that make sense.  And then follow the logic.  You know, to your point earlier about trying to find common sense solutions, one of the former secretaries of energy that I used to work for used to always say, “All of the above,” because you really have to apply the right solution to the right problem set.  So I would say using business and logical fundamentals to find solutions that work for you.  That’s always going to be the best guide forward.


And the third thing, I would say, is hold your elected officials up.  So if they’re…I’ll just be quite honest, we have elected officials that have heavy campaign donations from one particular energy sector and therefore a lot of what they’re saying tends to be reflective of that.  And I would say don’t be afraid to call out people that are spreading untruths on this because the truth really will set us free on this one.  Anytime you’re just believing hype or propaganda, you’re generally kind of falling victim to one energy sector’s form of public relations and advertising.  So you have to be careful.  


So I’d say those three things are probably the best fundamentals.  I think holding elected officials accountable is one of the most important things to do here because a lot of people love the thought of the excitement on this of environmental cleanup, ESG’s everyone on Wall Street is saying.  These are great things, but make sure you’re not getting lost in all the hype and PR that’s on this right now, from the actual science and fundamentals because there’s a solution out there for each one of these problems.  


You talk about nuclear.  Obviously I’m, you know, as I said, the minerals’ guy, so I focus on minerals and renewable energy supply chain but I include nuclear in that to be quite honest because your advanced modular reactors, advanced nuclear technology whether it’s vision or just advanced devices, it offers a lot of solutions people are not even aware are possible because there’s a lot of prototypes out there now that are essentially nuke in a box; it’s impossible for it to melt down.  It’s like the safest, cleanest form of energy possible.  It can be done more efficiently.  There needs to be a lot more development to make it fully deployable across the United States and ideally the globe.  This is a solution that could revolutionize the entire system.  


It’s a grid in a box, too, because you can take one of these little devices, take it to a remote area, and all of a sudden you’ve got the grand infrastructure of a major city.  You want to talk about problems with brown outs and other solutions; this is an immediate fix to that.  If you can get these things to a point where they can be deployed, installed and built into these grids that are struggling right now to be quite honest.  You’ve got to find logical solutions and the solution is not to destroy every single power plant and put up a windmill farm.  I’ve seen the folly of some of what I would say that the propaganda is for some of those decisions.  Logic needs to guide this and so does accountability.  Hold your representatives accountable.


Linda:  Very good.  Now there may be listeners who say, “OK, I contact my representatives but what about those un-elected, unaccountable bureaucrats that are in the halls in Washington, D.C.?  Maybe you could give some insight on how to have influence there in a proper way so that we are informed and involved and can be impactful, which is what I always say with Prosperity 101: be informed, involved, and impactful.  How can citizens or business leaders, industry leaders, help these policymakers that aren’t the elected officials to be more aware of what needs to be done?


Drew:  Well, that’s a great question.  I would say two things.  One, there is never supposed to be no accountability for anyone that’s in that position.  So whatever your means of appointment or hiring into a position, the elected officials and US Congress have oversight.  I would say no one should feel like they don’t have anyone to answer to because at the end of the day, I’m saying this as a former top level government employee, I was always answering to every single American.  That aside, two, I would say, just shine a bright light on everything.  (Chuckles)


Linda: And you always felt that you were serving every American, but I would say there are a lot of people over the years who have not felt that way.  I think that’s a lot of the frustration that citizens feel is that all these decisions are being made, and here decisions have been made over the past however many decades that truly put our country at risk economically and in a national security sense and so now people are waking up to these things and they really want to be able to have a voice and have an impact.  Yeah, to have an impact, so where would you tell people to go to get more information?  I’m sure this podcast is a start, but it’s not the deep dive that some may want to learn more about these issues.


Drew:  Well, that’s a great question.  And I will say that my firm and others were partnered up with a lot of the think tanks and the EMIC leaders to try to get real unbiased science and information out there.  So I can tell you that a lot, there are several universities that are leading the space in this.  There are several other institutions and think tanks that I think really have a read on what needs to be done.  So I partner up with a lot of this with the US Chamber and several of the other think tanks in town.  My firm in particular tries to use the signs and unbiased information to basically create the bridge between Wall Street and the US government.  


As you mentioned, there are some folks in the US government that don’t feel accountable the way maybe they should.  So I think the biggest thing is holding corporations accountable, too, because as consumers you get a vote and you can help guide their behavior and make sure it’s doing what’s in your interest and the country’s interest and the interest of free market principles, democratic principles, you name it.  Honestly, it was a few consulting companies that really kind of came up with this idea originally and I won’t name names but I will say that it was US consulting companies that kind of convinced some of the Chinese Communist Party leaders back a few decades, that they could be the leader in production in this space and others.  Essentially they sold out their country for money.  We’ve seen a lot of people do that because the sad reality is it’s hard for people to turn down money.  We all have bills to pay.  We all have families. We want to provide for them as best as possible, but you can be financially successful and do the right thing, too, is all I would say because you can be financially successful, support US business, US interests, and it doesn’t have to be purely nationalistic in nature.  


You can support countries that engage in fair and moral conduct.  I guess my question is, “Do you want to support a corporation that makes the base of their business dependent on a country that engages in essentially slavery, that engages in inhuman practices, that creates atrocities of some of the worse kind certainly on the globe now?”  Because a lot of the countries that base their operations and nest them with what the CCP does, are doing just that, and all you have to do is look at what’s actually going on.  Look at your unbiased sources of information and you’ll see the truth out there.  


And you can hold corporations accountable to make sure that they’re not just proclaiming to have principles that are economically viable for them.  They’re not going with what’s trendy because they think they can fool you and sell you goods if they appeal to something that trending on social media.  I think it’s important to educate yourself, as I said before, and then not just with public officials, but also with corporations, with your business.  Hold everyone accountable so that we’re all doing the right thing and we’re all actually doing what we say we’re doing.  If we’re trying to make the world a better place, let’s do that in actuality not pretend to do that and then make ourselves rich through whichever means possible we can.


Linda:  Right.  And we have to be willing to take a deeper look into these issues because I think so often convenience and economics have driven our consumer habits in America.  We need to step back and say, “Is this really good for national security?  Is this really good for the future of our country?”  And one the ways, you served our country and served in the halls of government and we can serve as consumers and citizens by holding our elected officials, our government officials accountable and also, like you said, holding these corporations accountable through what we do with our dollars.  And it’s very, very important.  So listeners when you’re at the store, when you’re thinking about what you want to buy, take a look and see what’s made in America.


Drew: Absolutely.


Linda: What’s made in these adversarial countries?  You’ll be amazed at how much we have given up our economic freedom and dominance that really should be ours.


Drew:  I think you know a lot of it comes down to the higher quality of the product or service you’re going to get.  One thing we’ve found, my firm does business domestically looking at environmental cleanup and energy combination projects.  That’s a big part of what we do, like the coal refuse.  We’ve got a lot of options, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and we’re looking out West, too, so there’s a lot to do there.  But we also look for international projects to kind of drive activity and US interests abroad.  We found that in a lot of areas of the world where people are trying to be developed, just have basic safe and sustainable way of living, they’re looking for American solutions because we don’t engage in this predatory [Unintelligible 39:10] like some other countries do.  What you see is what you get.  We believe in our principles and they are literally begging for American offers and American consideration.  So we’re looking to explore that.  I think that mentality says a lot.  If you just simply look for the best service or best commodity or product, a lot of times it’s going to be American.  If it’s not you can go for whatever the best one is, but certainly give American products and services fair consideration because a lot of times they’re going to be better than what you can find as alternatives.


Linda: Absolutely.  And they provide a long-term solution for our country, too.  Sometimes we’ve chosen the short term to our demise.


Drew: Absolutely.


Linda:  Well, our time is running out, but I just want to sum up a little bit.  We’ve learned that the rare earth minerals are so critical to our economic security, our national defense, and we have seen how increasing our domestic production of these can really help advance technological development in so many areas, from energy independence to, we mentioned it a little bit, we didn’t even touch on it much, but the medical supply industry, so many different areas and communications.  This is something that I hope Americans will wake up to and that we will begin to say this is truly important and part of why we want these domestic developments and this is part of a secure energy grid that includes, as you said, all of the above.  So it’s not just nuclear; it’s not just oil and gas; it’s not just solar or wind or hydro; it is all of the above and these rare earth…  


Drew:  Everything.


Linda: These rare earth minerals play a part for every single thing.


Drew: Yeah. You know, it’s literally everything.  There is a solution that is relatively simple which is to let the signs and the mathematics and the logic guide what we do, to let national security and business principles be the guide.  There are people out there trying to solve this right now.  It’s not as difficult as it sounds.  It really just comes down to using your brain and doing the right thing which I think a lot of us would hope we do all the time anyways, and it’s not just my firm that’s out there, there are others.  This is a hot issue for a reason, but let’s find real solutions and let’s actually implement them.  That’s what it comes down to.  It’s for all of our gain as well as our children and grandchildren.  We’re just the fundamentals of freedom and democracy won’t lie to you; that’s what’s at stake, but it’s really a simple solution.  I think we can do it together. 


Linda:  I think that’s great.  Well, we’ll close on that positive note and if people would like to reach out to you, could you please give your website?


Drew: Yes.  Absolutely.  So you can find me at www.greentechminerals.com.  You can see what my firm does.  You can find me and my contact information personally.  So, please, I would love to hear from anyone who is interested.  We have a lot of solutions we can offer.  So happy to talk to anyone.


Linda:  Well, that’s great.  Thank you so much and again this was Drew Horn with Greentech Minerals and we just thank you again for your service to your country and thank you for being with us today.


Drew: Thank you, Linda.  I appreciate everything and hope to talk to you soon.  Take care.


Linda:  You, too.