Today's date is October 26, 2020

Critical Minerals Rock the Vote on House Floor

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Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Vice-Chairman for Policy and Appropriations Mark Amodei (NV-02), Chief Regulatory Reform Officer Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Western Caucus Members Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) and Tom Emmer (MN-06) and Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning released the following statements after Congressman Amodei’s Amendment #122 to the NDAA which would facilitate streamlined permitting for critical and strategic minerals passed the Floor of the House of a Representatives on a bipartisan vote of 229-183:

Chairman Paul Gosar said “A non-classified defense study recently found that failure to identify a reliable supply chain for at least 16 of the 35 critical minerals has already caused significant weapon system production delays for the Department of Defense. And a recent report published by the Department of the Interior and U.S. Geological Survey found the U.S. is 100 percent net import reliant on foreign countries, including China, for 20 different critical minerals. This irrational overreliance threatens our national security by imperiling our ability to make equipment and weapons integral to mission success. No other developed country hamstrings themselves the way we do with domestic mining permitting and project delays – let alone a military superpower. I applaud my colleagues for passing this amendment on a bipartisan basis and reiterate the mission-critical necessity that it become law.”

Vice-Chairman for Policy and Appropriations Mark Amodei stated, “No amount of political misinformation will change the fact that in times of regional emergency or national disaster America must have the option to responsibly utilize its own resources to protect the national interest.”

Chief Regulatory Reform Officer Andy Biggs
 stated, “From weapons and ammunition to communications gear, our warfighters’ equipment depends on globally sourced mineral commodities. According to the USGS, the gear of one U.S. Navy SEAL contains at least 23 nonfuel mineral commodities, for which the United States relies on its imports. Today, the House streamlined the permitting process to advance the Trump Administration’s mission for mineral development in the United States. I thank Representative Amodei for his leadership, and urge the Senate to keep this important provision in the FY19 NDAA.”

Congressman Doug LaMalfa said, “In recent years, the U.S. has become dangerously dependent upon foreign countries to provide important metals and minerals that our military needs. We certainly shouldn’t be relying on China for precious materials that are critical to our national defense. Unfortunately, the current process can often take over a decade to approve a mining operation in the United States. I was glad to Cosponsor an amendment to the NDAA with Mr. Amodei that will streamline our development of critical minerals at home and create jobs for American workers along the way. Our national security interests should rest solely in our own hands, not China’s.”

Congressman Tom Emmer stated, “I am proud to support the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Protection Act which will bring us closer to fulfilling the United States’ strategic and critical minerals potential. These materials are instrumental to America’s national defense and economic competitiveness, as is ensuring we can mine them here at home. Across the country, states like Minnesota, which is home to the largest untapped copper-nickel deposit in the world, are ready to step up to end our nation’s near 100 percent reliance on foreign countries for strategic minerals.”

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning said, “The development of rare earth metals is critical to the national security of the United States and being competitive in the 21st century economy. Rep. Amodei’s amendment is a great step forward in meeting our nation’s needs for rare earth metals, and we strongly urge passage.”


Background:

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Congressman Amodei’s Amendment #122 to H.R. 5515 was passed with a recorded vote of 229-183 on the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

An essential component of America’s national defense engine and competitive advantage over other nations is domestic mineral production. As one of our nation’s largest consumers of metals and minerals, the U.S. Department of Defense uses as much as 750,000 ton of minerals each year. These metals and minerals are key ingredients of military technology as well as other strategic readiness components such as medical devices, energy infrastructure and roads.

Domestic mineral production is also critical to the health of America’s economy – especially to technology and manufacturing sectors – as well as in responding to natural disasters.

President Trump’s Executive Order 13806, Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States, noted that a healthy manufacturing and defense industrial base and resilient supply chains are essential to the economic strength and national security of the United States.

Unfortunately, the national trend on this issue has been proceeding swiftly in the wrong direction. Over the last 20 years, the U.S. has doubled its import reliance, to the point that the United States is now 100 percent dependent on foreign countries for 20 critical minerals.

Under current practices, it takes on average seven to 10 years for a mining operation to be approved. The United States can’t afford to wait 10 years for crucial raw materials when reacting to a crisis, and especially cannot afford to be dependent on adversaries like China and Russia for critical minerals at any time.

This amendment will allow the United States to more efficiently develop our nation’s strategic and critical minerals, including rare earth elements, by centralizing permitting review projects under a lead agency, streamlining permitting time-frames for critical and strategic minerals and preserving necessary environmental protections.

See the text of Rep. Amodei’s amendment here.

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Amendment Sponsors and Cosponsors: 

Mark Amodei*, Andy Biggs, Paul Cook, Paul Gosar, Jody Hice, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Tom McClintock, Martha McSally, David Schweikert, Jason Smith, Scott Tipton, Don Young

Endorsed by:
American Exploration & Mining Association; Americans for Limited Government; Citizens Against Government Waste; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49; National Mining Association; CEMEX, Inc.; Pershing Gold, Women’s Mining Coalition; Alaska Miners Association; Coeur Mining, Inc., Colorado Mining Association; Idaho Mining Association, Jobs For Minnesotans; MiningMinnesota; Nevada Mining Association; Reshoring Initiative; Up North Jobs; Utah Mining Association; Wyoming Mining Association

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Leon Aprile is a pseudonym for different freelance writers that submit articles to OPO.

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