Minnesota is home to one of the largest untapped critical mineral reserves in the world. These minerals are used in the production of airplanes, cell phones, and other items indispensable to the American economy and our national security.
As the need for these critical minerals grows, we have a very simple choice: we can either mine these minerals safely and responsibly here in the United States, or remain reliant on countries like China and Russia.
As the United States continues to move further into the digital economy, these critical minerals will become even more important. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the dangers of relying solely on foreign nations for key components of the American economy, and we are still seeing the impacts in our supply chains. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Mining in the Iron Ranges has provided a livelihood to generations of Minnesotans and offered a domestic source of resources that have been key to securing America’s stature on the global stage. Earlier this year, the Biden Administration made the disappointing decision to revoke previously held federal leases to mine in Minnesota’s Iron Range. This short-sighted decision was yet another attack from an administration committed to killing American independence on key resources.
Recently, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on the deeply misguided Boundary Water Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act. This legislation would permanently prevent any mineral leasing or exploration on over 200,000 acres of federal land in the Rainy River Watershed. This area of northern Minnesota is home to the Duluth Complex, one of the largest untapped mineral reserves in the world. In advance of this hearing, I led a letter with my colleagues Pete Stauber and Michelle Fischbach to the Chairman of the subcommittee opposing this ill-conceived legislation.
For more than a century, Minnesotans have been mining the Iron Range. They provided materials that built our skyscrapers, won our wars, and built our highway system. The mining industry is a key part of Minnesota’s heritage and one we have been able to pursue while preserving our state's natural beauty. Rest assured, we will continue to push for commonsense solutions that get the federal government out of the way and remove roadblocks that impede our ability to safely and responsibly utilize our abundant natural resources.