In the News: The National Defense Authorization Act

Posted on July 09, 2018 by Minerals Make Life

As the House and Senate convene on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the debate around a hotly-contested provision to the bill – which would reduce our redundant mine permitting process from nearly a decade to just two to three years – is gaining steam. For members of Congress, it’s necessary to understand why improving access to our domestic resources is crucial to the vitality of our defense sector, and the safety of our country.

With the potential to significantly improve our military supply chain, it should not come as a surprise that this permitting provision has generated buzz. See what some of the experts are saying about the inclusion of the minerals provision within the final NDAA:

  • Dangerous Dependence on China for Critical Minerals Runs Deep (RealClearDefense)
    • Jeff A. Green, President and Founder of J.A. Green & Company located in Washington D.C., explains why the NDAA provision could help secure our military supply chain and provide our troops with timely access to the minerals they needs. Green notes that the U.S. is currently import-reliant on 30 out of the 35 critical minerals deemed as essential by the Secretary of the Interior. For example, the U.S. is nearly 100 percent import reliance on rare earths minerals. This group of minerals is necessary for the manufacture of night-vision goggles, satellite communication and jet engines that our troops rely on. Allowing other countries to control our supplies of minerals like rare earths poses a “significant security threat to the U.S. and its warfighters.”

  • To Reduce China’s Leverage, Rebuild America’s Minerals Supply Chain (The Hill)
    • In his op-ed, Mark. J Perry of The American Enterprise Institute calls on Congress to “ensure we have the robust domestic supply chain to guarantee our military has the supply of materials it needs when it needs them.” Currently, it can take seven to 10 years to open a mine in the U.S. In countries like Canada and Australia – where there are similar environmental standards – it takes just 18 to 24 months to obtain a mine permit. Perry points out that the minerals provision now provides Congress with “the opportunity to put a halt to our deepening reliance on imports for dozens of critically important minerals.”

This situation is entirely self-inflicted. Despite being home to an estimated $6.2 trillion worth of minerals reserves, our mine permitting process is full of duplicative federal and state regulations and a lack of coordination between agencies. The protracted timeline of the permitting process discourages investment in domestic mining, forcing the Department of Defense to look overseas for mineral supplies. It’s time for the U.S. to put our security back in our own hands by streamlining the permitting process so that our military has access to critical minerals. Our national security should not be subject to outdated and burdensome policies that inhibit our ability to keep our troops—and our country—safe.

Make your voice heard! Write your legislator today to encourage them to support the inclusion of the minerals permitting provision to the NDAA.

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