Posted on July 24, 2015 by Minerals Make Life
This week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R – Alaska) introduced the bi-partisan “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015” which includes a wide range of major energy policy priorities, one of them being critical minerals mining permitting reform. Sen. Murkowski states:
“This bipartisan bill is the result of months of hard work – listening sessions, legislative hearings, and bipartisan negotiations…Our bill features major provisions that will help us produce more of our world-class mineral base, harness more of our abundant energy resources, support our efforts to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and much more.”
The critical minerals legislation that is part of this extensive energy bill “focuses on reducing America’s dependence on foreign suppliers for minerals that are critical to manufacturing, defense and other industries.” Currently, the U.S. mine permitting process is plagued with uncertainties and protracted permitting delays that hinder manufacturers’ access to raw materials and force them to look elsewhere to meet their needs. Presently, it takes on average seven to 10 years to start a new mining project in the U.S., compared with other developed nations with equally strict regulations and environmental standards, like Canada and Australia, where the process of opening up a new mine only takes two to three years. As Sen. Murkowski notes, “The seven to 10 years it currently takes to approve a new mine in the United States is often singled out as a serious liability for our competitiveness and ability to draw investment.”
Thankfully, the critical minerals provision of Sen. Murkowski’s bill aims to modernize the U.S. mine permitting process by granting timely access to the nation’s abundant mineral wealth. By improving the efficiency of the permitting process for new mines, the country will be able to better meet mineral demands within the defense, energy, medical, automotive and high-tech industries. National Mining Association’s president and CEO Hal Quinn applauded the critical minerals provision, stating:
“Sen. Murkowski’s bill…will modernize the permitting system for U.S. mining to better position our country to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Simply, her bill will better prepare our country to meet the competitive challenges we face in strengthening future economic growth and the U.S. manufacturing revival.”
If Sen. Murkowski’s critical minerals provision moves forward, it will better prepare the U.S. to support our domestic manufacturing sector and strengthen our economy. To learn more about the “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015,” read here. To support minerals mining legislation reform, act here.