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Congressman Tom Emmer

Representing the 6th District of Minnesota

Trump Administration Acts to Reduce Dependence on Foreign Critical Minerals and Strengthen National Security

December 21, 2017
Press Release

(Courtesy of the Congressional Western Caucus) 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04), Vice-Chairman for Policy and Appropriations Mark Amodei (NV-02), Vice-Chairman for Indian Affairs and Oceans Don Young (AK-At Large), Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Bruce Westerman (AR-04), House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) and Western Caucus Members Mike Johnson (LA-04), Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Adrian Smith (NE-03), Jason Smith (MO-08), Greg Gianforte (MT-At Large), Andy Biggs (AZ-05) and Tom Emmer (MN-06) issued the following statements following President Donald J. Trump's executive order to break America's dependence on foreign minerals and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke's secretarial order to begin work on identifying immediate domestic sources for critical minerals:

Chairman Gosar said, “Our reliance on foreign nations of questionable stability and demonstrated hostile intentions towards the United States for critical minerals constitutes a serious security threat. This situation has come about even though the United States could readily procure the vast majority of the 23 minerals identified in the USGS Report domestically and sustainably, were we only to choose to greenlight development of our bounty of mineral resources. At a recent hearing of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee which I chair, I emphasized the extent to which arbitrary mineral withdrawals and a federal bureaucracy loathe to authorize mineral projects have brought us to this precarious juncture. But there is a way forward. I applaud President Trump and Secretary Zinke for taking action to advance American energy dominance and strengthen our national security.”

Congressman Amodei stated, “Having introduced critical minerals legislation that has passed out of the House the last three Congresses in a row – and watching that bill run straight into Senate paralysis – I appreciate the fact that the Administration has taken the lead on this issue and is moving the ball toward the goal line.”

“The unique and resource rich geology in Alaska makes the state an excellent candidate for finding critical minerals,” said Congressman Don Young. “This strategic decision by President Trump will ensure that the U.S. is more self-sufficient and that our military can operate without risk of losing access to these crucial minerals while helping create jobs and boost both the Alaskan and national economy.”

Congressman Westerman stated, “America’s dependence on foreign sources of materials for manufacturing has been a concern among leaders in Congress, the executive branch, and industry for many decades. President Trump’s action addresses those concerns and puts America on the road to mineral independence. I appreciate the President and Secretary Zinke’s leadership in addressing this important security and economic challenge.”

“Tapping into our abundant domestic supply of critical minerals is good defense policy that has the added bonus of creating jobs and economic growth. These actions underscore President Trump’s commitment to responsibly develop more of our own resources and reverse America’s dependency on foreign sources. I look forward to continuing our work with the administration to achieve this shared objective,” said Congressman Rob Bishop.

Congressman Mike Johnson
stated, “The president’s decision marks an important turning point in prioritizing our nation’s sovereignty and security. America’s mineral resources are among our greatest assets and our independence in this area is key to strengthening our national defense. Once again, President Trump and Secretary Zinke have shown real leadership in reducing U.S. dependence on foreign resources.”

Congressman Lamborn said, "Today less than half the minerals American manufacturers need come from our own soil. That fosters dependence on foreign aid and poses a significant problem for national security.  While serving as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources for six years, this is an issue I worked on intensively. President Trump's Executive Order changes course for the better. We will no longer rely on foreign competitors for vital minerals needed to keep our country safe. Secretary Zinke's order backs the president's decision by increasing American mineral production. The new administration is putting America first and making American security the top priority. Putting critical mineral control back in the hands of domestic companies ensures a safer, better tomorrow."

“America’s reliance on foreign nations for important minerals and resources that our military needs puts our national security in jeopardy. We must make it easier to identify and produce these minerals so that everything our armed forces need can be made right here on our soil. I support the President’s decision to issue this Executive Order that will create jobs as well as streamline and safeguard our supply lines,” Congressman LaMalfa remarked.

Congressman Adrian Smith stated, “New efforts to mine rare earth minerals in places like Elk Creek, Nebraska, demonstrate we are capable of mining and refining these critical inputs for 21st century technology at home.  I applaud President Trump and Secretary Zinke for recognizing the need to grow our economy by utilizing resources which already exist within our borders.”

“The number one responsibility of your government is to keep you and your loved ones safe. Energy security – knowing we can do everything from building the best equipment for our military to putting gas in our cars and heating our homes – is a major part of that safety and security. But for too long, the government has been dependent on foreign countries supplying us with these critical resources when we have them right here in southeast Missouri. President Trump’s action to change this will make us less reliant on countries like Russia and China who don’t have our best interests at heart and will secure America’s energy independence while bringing jobs back to the United States,” said Congressman Jason Smith.

Congressman Gianforte stated, “Montana is home to the only platinum and palladium production in North America. Rare earth elements and platinum metals are integral parts of high-tech components, from batteries to computer chips to display screens to engines, that are vital for our economy and national defense. With Russia controlling much of the world’s platinum group production and China controlling nearly 80 percent of rare earth production, greater domestic production of these materials would protect us from relying on other nations. Opening a mine in the U.S. is difficult, and this order will improve the process. I applaud the efforts of the president and look forward to making it easier to create high-paying mining jobs in Montana.”

“By increasing exploration and production of key minerals in the United States, President Trump has kept his promise to prioritize our national strategic interests. Arizonans will see expanded job growth and trade opportunities. I applaud this administration for protecting our affairs,” said Congressman Biggs.

“Like so many states across this great nation, Minnesota is fully prepared to step up and help unleash America’s full mining potential,” concluded Congressman Emmer whose MINER Act, which reverses the misguided, last-minute actions of the Obama Administration to stop any exploration of one of the most valuable precious metal deposits in the world, passed the House last month. “This will add jobs and bring economic prosperity; improve national security and decrease our reliance on foreign countries like Russia and China; and enhance the lives of every American. Further, our current environmental regulations ensure that we can secure critical minerals while protecting our nation’s big, beautiful landscape. I am glad this administration agrees sound economic, environmental, and security policy can and should coexist. I commend Secretary Zinke and the President for their work to support our miners, streamline the permitting and review process, and enhance our national defense with this important order today.”

Background:

Courtesy of the White House

Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order to reverse the decades-long trend of increasing dependence on foreign imports of critical minerals that are essential to American prosperity and national security.

The comprehensive order aims to identify new sources of critical minerals, ensure miners and producers have access to the best data, and streamline the leasing and permitting process to expedite production, reprocessing and recycling of minerals at all levels of the supply chain.

Courtesy of the Department of the Interior:

Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed a secretarial order directing the initial steps to producing the first nationwide geological and topographical survey of the United States in modern history. The order also directs Interior bureaus to begin work on identifying immediate domestic sources for critical minerals. 

Earlier this week, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Geological Survey released a report that detailed the extent to which the United States is fully, majorly, or partially dependent upon foreign competitors and even adversaries for our supply of "critical minerals." The report identified 23 of the minerals that are most-needed to sustain our national defense and economy and are used in manufacturing everything from batteries and computer chips to equipment used by our military. The report shows a troubling trend of foreign dependency.  

Click HERE and HERE to read DOI’s press releases on these matters.

Courtesy of the Western Caucus

On December 12, 2017, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on the arduous and uncertain regulatory scheme governing domestic mineral development and resulting impacts on America’s economic and national security. Panel members discussed America’s reliance on foreign minerals and the benefits of increasing domestic production.

Each of the last three Congresses, the House has passed Vice-Chairman Amodei’s National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. This legislation sought to address delays in the permitting of American mining projects, which can currently take seven to ten years or longer. This bill required the lead permitting agency to identify a project lead to coordinate with all involved, set and adhere to deadlines, establish clear goals, and track progress. It also streamlined judicial review and litigation.

 

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