Western Caucus Members Spearhead Legislation to Protect U.S. Mineral Supply Chains
Washington, May 28, 2020 | Doug Levine (202-225-2315)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Western Caucus Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04) and Rep. Michael Waltz (FL-06) introduced the American Critical Mineral Exploration and Innovation Act of 2020. They were joined by Western Caucus Chair Emeritus and House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Republican Rob Bishop (UT-01), House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology Ranking Republican Frank Lucas (OK-03), and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23).
“I am proud to sponsor the American Critical Mineral Exploration and Innovation Act of 2020 with Representative Waltz. This dual-Committee effort will make significant strides toward securing our nation a domestic supply chain of critical minerals from the United States for the United States. Critical minerals are the building blocks of modern life, necessary for applications in defense systems, renewable technologies, healthcare and more. For years, our country has become increasingly dependent on China and other nations to fulfill our demand for minerals. The global pandemic has demonstrated the severe consequences of allowing this longstanding overreliance on China to go unchecked and this legislation will begin the complex process of unraveling our addiction and addressing this problem. This bill tackles impediments to domestic critical mineral development including inefficiencies in the Federal permitting process and shortsighted mineral withdrawals, and also promotes technological advancements such as minerals recycling. Our need for critical minerals will skyrocket in the coming decades, especially as demand for renewable energy and battery storage increases. That demand can only be met with new mining and new resources, the American Critical Mineral Exploration and Innovation Act will help us meet this challenge head on,” said Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04)
“From healthcare to electronics and our defense systems, critical minerals are integral to our way of life. Unfortunately, China currently has a stronghold on the supply of these natural resources. As coronavirus has unfortunately demonstrated, if China can threaten to cut off our pharmaceutical supply, they can do the same with their supply of rare earth minerals. We need to bring this supply chain back to America – and this bill will be an important step to do that,” said Congressman Michael Waltz (FL-06)
“The global pandemic has highlighted significant supply chain vulnerabilities, particularly our reliance on China and other nations to meet our demand for critical minerals. The introduction of the American Critical Mineral Exploration and Innovation Act is an urgently needed step in the right direction. Shortsighted Federal policy has left us reliant on our adversaries and with an abundance of domestic minerals untapped, leaving our renewable energy technologies, healthcare, and modern way of life with dangerous uncertainties. From overhauling our permitting process to prioritizing advancements in mineral refining, this legislation provides solutions for rebuilding every aspect of the domestic critical mineral supply chain. I look forward to working with Representatives Gosar and Waltz, our Senate committee counterparts, and Leadership in both chambers to advance this legislation to the President’s desk,” said Chairman Emeritus Rob Bishop (UT-01)
“Critical minerals power technologies ranging from cell phones to medical equipment to renewable energy storage. China holds an overwhelming advantage in access to critical minerals and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it dangerously clear that we can’t take our supply for granted. We need to be forward-thinking about how we develop our resources and manage our access to critical minerals. I’m proud to join my colleagues on this bill which not only helps secure our supply of critical minerals, but also accelerates research into critical minerals development and technologies” said Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03)
“The world has paid a costly price for China’s dangerous missteps on how they have handled this pandemic. The Chinese Communist Party hid the severity of the virus, manipulated statistics, and still refuses to allow international experts to investigate or share viral samples with the scientific community. What this health crisis has also exposed is our dangerous dependence on China when it comes to our supply chain. We can no longer afford inaction – that is why I am proud Republicans on the Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology Committees, an effort led by Representatives Waltz and Gosar, are working together on a legislative fix that would restore stability and independence to our critical minerals supply chain. The American Critical Minerals Exploration and Innovation Act will make sure our country continues to become stronger on the other side of this pandemic and will help us follow through on a national commitment to put America’s energy future into our own hands.”– House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)
The text of the legislation can be viewed HERE.
A section by section breakdown of the legislation can be viewed HERE.
This legislation aims to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical minerals by supporting responsible domestic mineral development. Minerals, with applications including healthcare, defense systems, and renewable energy technology, are essential to our modern way of life. China has dominated the critical minerals market for years, controlling the vast majority of the global supply. Currently, 14 of the 35 critical minerals identified by the U.S.G.S. are imported to the U.S. at a rate of 100%. Ensuring a stable supply of critical minerals for electric car batteries, smartphones, healthcare equipment, and a range of other technologies and products, begins with encouraging responsible critical minerals development, production, and innovation here at home.
Current sponsors and cosponsors of this legislation include (37): Reps. Waltz (FL-06), Gosar (AZ-04), Bishop (UT-01), Lucas (OK-03), McCarthy (CA-23), Young (AK-AL), Crawford (AR-01), Buck (CO-04), LaMalfa (CA-01), Olson (TX-22), Newhouse (WA-04), Curtis (UT-03), McClintock (CA-04), Hern (OK-01), Stauber (MN-08), Marshall (KS-01), Weber (TX-14), Gonzalez (OH-16), Posey (FL-08), Balderson (OH-12), Westerman (AR-04), Wittman (VA-01), Cheney (WY-AL), Lesko (AZ-08), Stewart (UT-02), Johnson (SD-AL), Cook (CA-08), Gohmert (TX-01), Hice (GA-10), Emmer (MN-06), Amodei (NV-02), Fulcher (ID-01), Lamborn (CO-05), Calvert (CA-42), Baird (IN-04), Babin (TX-36), Norman (SC-05), Duncan (SC-03).
Endorsements for this legislation so far include: National Mining Association, American Exploration and Mining Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, Uranium Producers of America, Arizona Mining Association, and Utah Mining Association.