March 31, 2015
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) aims to improve the U.S.’ ...
Yesterday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) led a hearing, complete with expert testimony, on the “American Mineral Security Act of 2015.” This bill would reduce inefficiencies in the process of permitting new mines in order to secure necessary minerals to support the American economy.
Sen. Murkowski was joined by several leaders within U.S. mining and manufacturing industries and governmental organizations, including:
• Harry M. “Red” Conger, NMA chairman and president of the Americas Division of Freeport-McMoRan Inc.;
• Dr. Suzette Kimball, acting director of U.S. Geological Survey;
• Ed Fogels, deputy commissioner of Alaska Department of Natural Resources;
• Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff USN, president and CEO of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association; and
• Dr. Richard Silberglitt, senior physical scientist at RAND Corporation.
These experts testified that minerals and metals mining within the U.S. is critical to American manufacturing and industrial innovation and emphasized that reform to our current mine permitting policy is necessary in order secure the nation’s economy. Presently, the U.S. mine permitting process is plagued by uncertainties and delays, which have become a major obstacle to securing mineral supplies that are increasingly vital to American manufacturing, the economy and national security.
“When it comes to delays in new mine permitting,” Sen. Murkowski said, “our nation is still one of the worst in the world.” Delays in new mine permitting result in delays in thousands of jobs. It also means U.S. manufacturers have less access to a stable supply of the minerals they need when they need them.
“Our reliance on imports is growing, as is our need for these minerals,” stated Ed Fogels, deputy commissioner of Alaska Department of Natural Resources, in reference to the estimated $6.2 trillion worth of key mineral commodities locked under U.S. soil. “Our overreliance on imported minerals, however, is certainly not due to an absence of resource potential. In fact, many U.S. regions contain significant potential for strategic and critical minerals.”
Designed to expedite the mining permitting process, Sen. Murkowski’s bill will grant better access to the nation’s abundant mineral wealth and supply more of the minerals needed to sustain the country’s growing manufacturing demand.
The current permitting process also puts the U.S. manufacturing industry at a competitive disadvantage. Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff agrees:
“At the end of the day, for us, this legislation is about the government enabling U.S. manufacturers to compete fairly into the future because they will have access to the information, the minerals and the other resources they need to conduct business.”
If Congress does not reform the current permitting process, Red Conger, president of the Americas Division of Freeport-McMoRan Inc., believes our economy will suffer.
“The U.S. economy will languish, and its vital supply chains will be subject to increased risk of disruption. The ‘American Mineral Security Act’ is a step forward in bringing the U.S. in line with its global peers who are preparing to meet the 21st century challenges of mineral supply chain reliability and security,” Red Conger concluded.
If Sen. Murkowski’s bill moves forward, it will better prepare our country to meet the competitive challenges we face and further strengthen U.S. manufacturing and the economy. Watch the testimony on Sen. Murkowski’s critical bill here and take action to support this legislation here.