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Wed Apr 7, 2021, 12:46 PM

The rise of electric vehicles is disrupting life in a small Western community [View all]

People rarely talk about the quiet on northern Nevada’s Thacker Pass, although besides the rolling, sage-filled hills below the Double H and Montana mountains and the empty, so-blue-it-hurts-a-little sky, the quiet demands your attention.


This corner of northern Nevada is not often the subject of both local and national news stories. But the valley has erupted in controversy the past few months as Lithium Nevada moved onto the next stage of its proposed lithium mine on Thacker Pass.

As the country tackles ambitious new climate change goals, lithium production — a key mineral for the batteries that power electric vehicles — is slated to be a part of that future. But people like Muratore are beginning to question what the cost will be to realize a greener future and the community they believe could be destroyed in the process.


With the final environmental impact statement completed by the Bureau of Land Management, the day the operation might break ground (aside from the dirt roads and weather station already in place) seems ever nearer. Ranchers in the communities of Orovada and King’s River are fighting the mine (Muratore joined Great Basin Resource Watch, an environmental group that filed a lawsuit) and activists have been rotating in and out of the proposed site, staging an occupation.


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