Newhouse, Westerman, Stauber Lead Forum on the Importance of Domestic Mining

"Minnesota Mining and American Potential: An Opportunity for a Brighter and More Secure Future"

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Western Caucus and House Natural Resources Republicans hosted a joint forum on the economic, national defense, and energy security benefits of mining in northern Minnesota and the development of the Twin Metals mine.
 
“This isn’t just about Minnesota, it’s about the whole country,” said Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “The Twin Metals mine and the other mining opportunities in the Duluth Complex represent exactly the types of projects we should be approving, promoting, and investing in to ensure a strong, stable supply of domestic minerals, strengthen our economy, and continue working toward American energy dominance. I’m proud to support Mr. Stauber’s steadfast efforts and partner with our Republican colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee to demonstrate the potential for what could be a much stronger and more secure future.”
 
"We know that mining in Minnesota presents an incredible opportunity for the regional economy, local communities, and our nation as a whole, yet the Biden Administration continues to be hypocritical in it’s decision-making," said Vice Chair Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Committee. "Today’s conversation not only highlighted that hypocrisy, but proved the need for mining in our country. I thank Mr. Stauber for being a leading voice on domestic mining issues and for his leadership on our committee."
 
“Thank you to Ranking Member Westerman and Chairman Newhouse for working with me to put together this forum today,” said Vice Chair Pete Stauber (MN-08), Ranking Member of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. “President Biden made a choice to ban mining in my district, putting my constituents’ livelihoods and our national security at risk. It therefore truly means a lot that both the House Natural Resources Committee and the Congressional Western Caucus worked with me to elevate a project so crucial to my district, Minnesota, and the nation. Mining in northern Minnesota isn’t just a local issue – it’s an industry with national and international implications. As global demand is growing to meet the needs of technological development, especially with minerals needed for alternative sources of energy, it’s time we start responsibly sourcing them here in the United States instead of relying on foreign, and often hostile, nations for them.”
 
Congressional Western Caucus Members and House Natural Resources Republicans heard from seven witnesses during the forum, including several guests from Minnesota:
  • Jason George, Business Manager and Financial Secretary for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49
  • Brian Hanson, Chair of Jobs for Minnesotans
  • The Honorable Mike Jugovich, 7th District Commissioner and Chair of St. St. Louis County Board
  • Julie Padilla, Chief Regulatory Officer of Twin Metals Minnesota
  • Ryan Jackson, Senior Vice President of Government and Political Affairs for the National Mining Association
  • Mark Compton, Executive Director of the American Exploration and Mining Association
  • Heather Reams, President of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES)
“Minnesota is blessed in a lot of ways. Our state was populated because of our abundant natural resources and the people needed to develop them,” said Jason George. “We have grown and prospered as a community because of this development, and we have contributed mightily to the growth of our nation. With the discovery of the world’s largest and highest quality untapped strategic mineral deposit in our state, we are at the precipice of another hundred years of prosperity – if we are allowed to pursue it. If we don’t submit to fear mongering. If we don’t let anti-development, not in my backyard political groups prevent us from mining.”
 
“Minnesota can be a key part of the solution to bring critical and insecure supply chains home to the U.S., by not only developing needed domestic mines for minerals like nickel, cobalt, and copper, but also by developing production and processing technologies here with the experienced, professional, and well-trained Minnesota workforce and mining infrastructure,” said Brian Hanson. “…We are shutting the door on opportunity in this country and punting the responsibility of extracting minerals we ourselves are demanding to other parts of the world with no control over environmental or worker standards. We can and should safely mine here. We can have both jobs and clean water. Trust the science and trust our regulators.”
 
“Small communities in northern Minnesota depend on mining. It’s part of who we are,” said Commissioner Jugovich. “Mining is the backbone of our economy. Copper nickel mining is the next phase for us. Future generations need employment opportunities on the Iron Range, and mining precious metals will create jobs for years to come. Let’s keep manufacturing local where ‘Made in America’ is a way of life – on the Iron Range!”
 
“The Twin Metals Project brings the promise of a significant number of long-term jobs as well as environmentally responsible economic development in the region,” said Julie Padilla. “…Twin Metals spent a decade ahead of formally submitting its mine plan to regulators to ensure that what we were bringing was a model mine for the future, incorporating the best available technology.”

“Responsible access to domestic resources and secure mineral supply chains are essential to every aspect of our lives, from energy, communications, healthcare, manufacturing, infrastructure, and new technological advancements," said Ryan Jackson. "Some mineral-supplying competing countries simply do not value environmental protections and labor standards the way we do. But projects like Twin Metals and other inlay projects… proves the U.S. can and should prioritize domestic production and that we shouldn’t choose between environmental protections and labor standards.”
 
“Made in America must include ‘mined in America’ and sourcing minerals from U.S. mines that use state-of-the-art environmental protection measures, put a premium on worker health and safety, and have financial assurances that guarantee reclamation when mining is complete,” said Mark Compton. “…Like food and water, minerals are essential, and it’s more important than ever for the U.S. to responsibly utilize our own resources.”
 
“The demand for critical minerals is an incredible opportunity, and the U.S. should be at the forefront,” said Heather Reams. “Instead, it has been a windfall for China both financially and strategically, and this Administration’s policies continue to allow China to have increasing influence over our energy and transportation sectors. As the U.S. deploys more low-carbon technologies, we must reduce our dependence on hostile foreign suppliers through increased domestic production. Without such a plan, the deck isn’t just stacked against the U.S. – we are barely in the game.”
   
Background:
 
In October 2021, the Biden Administration requested a 20-year mineral withdrawal within the Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota, triggering a two-year pause on new federal mining permits and leases in the area. The action mirrors the Obama-Biden Administration’s 2016 action to initiate a mineral withdrawal in northern Minnesota. The Trump Administration reversed the order, offering a fair environmental review and permitting process for the Twin Metals project.
 
Northern Minnesota is home to the world’s largest known undeveloped copper-nickel deposit. In January 2021, Rep. Stauber introduced the Saving America’s Mines Act to prevent the executive branch from eliminating mining jobs and economic activity in rural communities.
 
The Twin Metals mine would tap into mineral resources like copper that are necessary for U.S. manufacturing, and the project would create roughly 750 direct full-time jobs and 1,500 indirect jobs. The project continues to undergo robust regulatory reviews and environmental permits.

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