Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski: “The U.S. Digs Itself Into a Hole on Vital Minerals”
August 05, 2015
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) emphasizes the deep need fo...
National Mining Association’s President and CEO, Hal Quinn, praised Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in Alaska Dispatch News for her introduction of the “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015” and her “wise” inclusion of critical minerals legislation. This comprehensive energy bill, which passed in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week, “would help spur minerals production in Alaska and across the U.S., allowing the U.S. to supply the minerals for the energy boom underway in America,” says Quinn.
Furthermore, Quinn explains how minerals and metals are the building blocks of today’s conventional and emerging energy technologies:
“Minerals are vital to a host of different energy technologies. Zinc is used in hybrid cars and as material in offshore and onshore wind-power plants. Silver helps make solar panels. Gold increases solar cell performance — just to name a few. These minerals are integral to manufacturing the technologies that supply Americans with an all-of-the-above energy portfolio.”
With the energy boom underway in the U.S. comes an increased need for minerals and metals, and the U.S. isn’t lacking in its share of mineral resources. In fact, it’s home to more than $6 trillion worth of minerals, and Alaska alone has an abundant wealth of mineral resources. “If Alaska were its own country,” Quinn says, “it would be in the top 10 copper, lead, gold, zinc and silver”—which are key minerals to producing today’s energy technologies. But despite this, many of these critical mineral resources remain locked underground due to a lengthy and inefficient mine permitting process; “the result is that U.S. manufacturers are completely dependent on imports for 19 key mineral resources and rely on imports for half the supply of an additional 24 mineral commodities,” Quinn explains, “despite having abundant mineral resources at home.”
Fortunately, Sen. Murkowski’s energy bill aims to reduce inefficiencies in the mine permitting process, which would open access to the trillions of dollars worth of minerals and metals we have here at home. Quinn writes:
“With her minerals bill, Murkowski is making progress toward alleviating permitting issues; and by opening up access to domestic minerals crucial to energy technologies, she’s putting the U.S. one step closer to a true ‘all-the-above’ energy policy.”
If Sen. Murkowski’s bill moves forward, it will better prepare our country to meet the challenges we face in sustaining the booming U.S. energy sector. Read more of Quinn’s commentary here, and take action to support U.S. mine permitting reform here.