December 19, 2013
Last week, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) held a cong...
In an effort to promote the domestic production of critical minerals, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced the “Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013” in October of last year.
Today, the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources held a hearing on that legislation, during which academics, mining companies and Murkowski herself all testified on the need for a streamlined minerals mining permitting process.
Critical minerals — which Murkowski specifically names as cobalt, lead, lithium, thorium and rare earth minerals — are essential to the technologies on which both the American public and military rely.
Despite being home to $6.2 trillion of mineral resources, including those listed above, the United States relies heavily on imported minerals to supply what remains of our manufacturing industry (as well as the coming resurgence).
Murkowski highlighted the problem in her opening statement in today’s hearing:
“Our mineral-related policies remain outdated. Our dependence on foreign minerals is reportedly deepening. Our agencies are not as coordinated and focused on this issue as they need to be. And when it comes to permitting delays for mines, our nation is tied for last – meaning worst – in the world.”
Thankfully, there is movement toward reform in both houses of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, but there’s no question that it’s time for meaningful action to rework this outdated regulatory process.