Posted on July 12, 2012 by Minerals Make Life
Today, the House passed H.R. 4402—the “National Strategic and Critical Mineral Production Act”—with a vote of 256-160. Alongside 223 Republicans, 22 Democrats voted in favor of the bill, despite recent words of opposition from the White House regarding the bill.
The legislation is critical to increasing domestic mineral development as it would require federal agencies to take no longer than 30 months to make decisions related to mining permits, as opposed to the current process which can take seven to10 years. A predictable and manageable permitting process will make mining in the United States more attractive, creating jobs and helping to ensure a stable supply of critical minerals. Supply chain concerns were made even more serious this week as China announced it would increase its hoarding of rare-earth minerals, which are crucial to many high-tech manufactured goods.
The bill is critical to helping the United States remain competitive in the global market by ensuring that the proper regulatory framework is in place to produce minerals key to manufacturing and national security. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., argued, “Burdensome red tape, duplicative reviews, frivolous lawsuits and onerous regulations can hold up new mining projects for more than a decade. These unnecessary delays cost American jobs, as we become more and more dependent on foreign countries for raw ingredients to fuel manufacturing and our economy. This is a jobs bill, and the positive economic impact of this bill’s intent will extend beyond the mining industry.”
In his floor statement, bill sponsor Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., also stated that the bill still allows for plenty of time for federal agencies to make decisions against permitting decisions. “What's the problem with two and a half years to talk about the permit? What's the problem with providing some predictability to the timing of the permitting process? What's the problem with not stringing people out under NEPA for over a decade for mine decisions?”
The House’s approval of H.R. 4402 is an important step on the road to making the United States more competitive in a global marketplace, ensuring economic and national security. Now is the time for the Senate to act and pass this common-sense legislation as well. Good American jobs and our security await their action.