WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Western Caucus released statements applauding the reintroduction of Congressman Amodei's (NV-02) bill, the "National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act" while slamming Rep. Grijalva's anti-mining legislation.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! Rep. Amodei Reintroduces Critical Minerals Legislation, Western Caucus Slams Grijalva's Anti-Mining Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Western Caucus released statements applauding the reintroduction of Congressman Amodei's (NV-02) bill, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act while slamming Rep. Grijalva's anti-mining legislation:
Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04): "America's future economic prosperity and national security outlook is dependent upon the robust cultivation of our critical and strategic minerals. Unfortunately, our country is forced to rely on Chinese and Russian mineral exports to build up our military, bolster our energy infrastructure and meet the demands of a booming economy under President Trump. If we are to maintain American energy secuirty, then mineral exploration and production must occur in the U.S. and not in a Chinese-owned Cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo with little to no standards. We need strategic and critical minerals for smartphones, solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, military aircraft as well as weapons and armor for our troops. No other developed country hamstrings themselves the way we do with domestic mining permitting and project delays - let alone a military superpower. I applaud Mr. Amodei for his leadership and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work with us to get this common sense legislation signed into law. Unsurprisingly, Rep. Grijalva has a different and incorrect opinion. Legislation he is expected to introduce this week will cripple our country's hardrock mining industry while keeping us beholden to China and Russia for minerals we need for renewable energy technologies and other key priorities. It is apparent that the real collusion is Chairman Grijlva's desire to see the United States shackled to our adversaries and extremist organizations while taking a wrecking ball to America’s energy security."
Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Bruce Westerman (AR-04): "We shouldn’t discourage critical mineral production; rather, we should focus on efficient processes that don’t compromise environmental safety. Arkansas is home to one the largest lithium sources in North America, so I know how important production of these minerals is to local economies. Rep. Amodei’s bill would reduce red tape, facilitating timely permitting and allowing mine development to thrive."
Chief Regulatory Reform Officer Andy Biggs (AZ-05): "The strategic and national interest in mining, public stewardship, and the need for coordinated action on a national critical minerals strategy is clear. These actions are overdue, and critical to our long-term national security to the economic and industrial leadership of this country. Chairman Grijalva’s anti-mining legislation is an attack on our economy freedom and ability to utilize U.S. sourced components for national security capabilities."
Chief Agriculture and Business Officer Doug LaMalfa (CA-01): "America’s current reliance on critical minerals from countries like China and Russia is a major concern for our national security and energy independence. These are vital materials that our military and our economy both rely on, and we must have the ability to produce them here at home. The duplicative permitting processes which regulate the U.S. mining industry hinder us domestically and hamstring our economy. I applaud my colleague, Mr. Amodei, for leading this charge to increase responsible energy and critical minerals production right here in America."
Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large): "Montana is home to our nation’s only palladium mine. Unfortunately, many mining projects in our state and across the country have been stuck in the permitting process for years. America’s security is at stake here. Permitting for these projects should proceed, because America can’t afford to rely on China and Russia for critical minerals used across high-tech sectors. I appreciate Mr. Amodei’s leadership on streamlining permitting processes so that we may continue developing our natural resources while being responsible stewards of our environment."
Hal Quinn, President and CEO of the National Mining Association: "This bill provides an important step forward in reducing our import reliance for minerals that can be sourced in the U.S., boosting our country’s economy and supporting U.S. manufacturing with domestically-sourced raw materials. It is time for Congress to act to remove the barriers to responsible mining here at home. U.S. mining is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, and our lengthy and duplicative permitting process can last more than a decade. We can and must do better."
Few countries can rival our abundance of mineral resources but even fewer have a permitting system as inefficient and duplicative as the U.S. Under current practices, it can take more than 10 years for an operation to be approved and come online. Bureaucratic inefficiency, unwarranted litigation, and a lack of coordination between various federal agencies in the permitting process jeopardizes the growth of downstream industries, related jobs and technological innovation that all depend on a secure and reliable mineral supply chain.
An essential component of America's national defense engine and competitive advantage over other nations is 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 for military technology as well as other strategic readiness components such as medical devices, energy infrastructure and roads.
Furthermore, our reliance on foreign sources of metals and minerals weakens our strategic competitiveness and significantly reduces state and federal revenues. These permitting delays also have a chilling effect on investment in the U.S. According to a recent report on world exploration trends from S&P Global, the U.S. attracted only nine percent of global investment in mining – down from nearly 20 percent in the late 1990s. Meanwhile in 2018, Canada and Australia attracted 15 and 14 percent of global investment respectively.
The National Strategic and Critical Mineral Production Act will:
Require the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of strategic and critical minerals and mineral materials;
Define strategic and critical minerals as those that are necessary:
For national defense and national security requirements;
For energy infrastructure and renewable energy production;
To support domestic manufacturing, agriculture, housing, telecommunications, healthcare and transportation infrastructure; and
For economic security and the balance of trade.
Facilitate timely permitting process for mineral exploration and mine development projects by clearly establishing lead agency coordination and reducing duplicative processes, all without compromising existing environmental standards.
Limit the total review process for issuing permits to 30 months unless signatories to the permitting timeline agree to an extension.
Crush the hardrock mining industry by changing the process to a leasing system.
Impose punitive high royalties (12.5% gross) and a new Dirt Tax that discourages production.
Subject the United States to substantial takings claims in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
Add more red tape to the permitting process which will push more business out of the United States.
Increase dependency on strategic and critical mineral imports from China and Russia.
Click HERE to read an article describing some of the flaws of Rep. Grijalva's legislation.
Courtesy of the American Exploration & Mining Association
The Mining Law is not antiquated. Congress has amended the law many times to modernize its application to specific minerals, mandate environmental protection, and charge fees for the use of public landed for mineral purposes. Hardrock minerals are geologically different. A leasing system is an impractical, non-nonsensical way to manage a very different mining commodity. A lease system would significantly increase the already high financial risk associated with mineral exploration, expose the U.S. to takings liability and will lead to a substantial decline in mineral discoveries and future mineral production.
Unlike oil, gas and coal, it's very difficult to find new hardrock mineral resources. Currently, 1 out of 1,000 exploration projects may become an operating mine. Preserving self-initiation and security of tenure is critical to exploration and development of mining claims; a leasing system inhibits this. Furthermore, the proposed royalty will end future mining, increase reliance on foreign minerals, and pose a threat to our Nation's national security as it will render any economic business models unworkable. The impacts will be disproportionately felt by rural communities as many people will lose their jobs, or have no jobs created.
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