CALIPATRIA, Calif. (AP) — Demand for electric vehicles has shifted investments into high gear to extract lithium from geothermal wastewater around California’s dying Salton Sea. The ultralight metal is critical to rechargeable batteries. Despite widespread availability in the United States, Nevada has the country’s only lithium plant, and U.S. production lags far behind Australia, Chile, Argentina and China. California’s largest but rapidly shrinking lake is at the forefront of efforts to make the U.S. a major global player, though decades of economic stagnation and environmental ruin have left some residents on its receding shores indifferent or wary.
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