Western Caucus Condemns Biden Administration Move to Block Critical Mineral Mining in Minnesota
Washington, January 26, 2023 | Amanda Fitzmorris (202-317-0098)
WASHNGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a 20-year moratorium on mining in Northern Minnesota. This unscientific announcement is devastating for the local economies and the future of mineral development in America, even as it opens the door for additional reliance on foreign, adversarial nations.
“What is this administration thinking? This anti-mining ban is so clearly about pushing a Green New Deal, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality, and not about protecting our environment. It would be laughable if it weren’t so destructive to our Nation,” said Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04). “The United States is the number one consumer of critical minerals, yet it continues to rely on importing them from foreign sources—who often use slave labor to extract from the Earth. By trying to shut down domestic mining, the Biden Administration is forcing us to source these raw materials from countries with little to no environmental standards—many of whom are not our allies. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is already protected and already has a permanent mining ban in place, this senseless decision ignores the established process for the public to evaluate mining projects on their merits and not only impacts federal mineral rights, but the ability to access private and state lands. You can rest assured the Western Caucus will be throwing its full weight behind Vice Chair Stauber’s condemnation of this reckless decision.”
“Today is an attack on our way of life,” said Western Caucus Vice Chair Pete Stauber (MN-08). “Joe Biden banned mining in 225,000 acres of Minnesota's Iron Range, and locked up development of taconite, copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum-group elements, and more. Unfortunately, this harm to our country and our future has become the norm, as this president’s goal is to put America last. Not even one month ago, Joe Biden signed an agreement to fund mining projects in Chinese-owned mines in the Congo, where over 40,000 children work as slaves in forced labor and inhumane conditions with no environmental protections. Meanwhile today’s mining ban nullifies a Project Labor Agreement with the local building and construction trade unions. America needs to develop our vast mineral wealth, right here at home, with high-wage, union protected jobs instead of continuing to send American taxpayer dollars to countries like the Congo that use child slave labor. The only winner here is China, as Joe Biden continues to hand our foreign adversaries every advantage possible. I can assure you that this administration, from the president to the Forest Service, to the Interior Department, will answer for the pain they elected to cause my constituents today.”
“If Democrats were serious about developing renewable energy sources and breaking China's stranglehold on the global market, they would be flinging open the doors to responsible mineral development here in the U.S.,” said House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman and Western Caucus Vice Chair Bruce Westerman (AR-04). “We cannot have a future of renewable energy without minerals, period - not to mention their necessity to our defense systems, satellites, cellphones and virtually every other advanced technology. While Democrats play political ping pong with American industries, China and Russia are laughing straight to the bank. The administration's decision to withdraw this mineral-rich area - blatantly targeting one of our country’s most promising mines - is short-sighted, foolish and completely unscientific. Unfortunately, President Biden doesn't seem to mind if Minnesota mining communities and the entire American economy pay the price.”
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