What President Obama’s State of the Union Missed

Posted on January 21, 2015 by Minerals Make Life

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized his desire to support working families, create better jobs and bring home American industries. One way to do that is by supporting the U.S. minerals mining industry through policy reform, which will open access to our nation’s vast mineral supply worth $6.2 trillion. By creating high-paying jobs and providing the raw materials essential to manufacturing, minerals mining helps stimulate economic recovery and job growth. Current permitting delays that can last a decade or longer are hindering the nation’s ability to access our resources and job-creation opportunities. As stated by National Mining Association’s president and CEO, Hal Quinn,

“Americans are looking for jobs and economic security, not federal policies that raise electricity costs and wrap key industries in more red tape. Americans registered these concerns in the midterm elections. Clearly adjustments are needed. The President can respond to Americans’ concerns by embracing policies that leverage our strengths—our people and our country’s vast natural resources. Policies that allow our nation to fully deploy all of our energy sources and domestic minerals will provide the catalyst for sustained economic growth.”

As Quinn points out, the outcome of the 2014 midterm elections set the stage for a bi-partisan movement toward mining policy reform in 2015. Most notably, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a prominent supporter of U.S. mining and permitting legislation reform, was named chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which oversees domestic mining policy, as well as the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, which oversees the Department of Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service. While the House of Representatives passed Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-Nev.) “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013” in September 2013, the Senate, under its new leadership, can now take meaningful action to rework the outdated regulatory process and advance policies that benefit the American economy:

“To build a legacy that helps America succeed, let’s set our sights higher with balanced policies that assure our industries can compete successfully – policies that fully deploy all of our energy sources and supply our industries with domestic minerals and materials they need.”

As the U.S. manufacturing sector expands, requiring a greater supply of raw materials, legislation should allow for easier access and exploration of U.S. mineral resources. The National Mining Association and our partners remain encouraged by the growing recognition among policymakers, industry leaders and security experts that there is a critical need for policy reform to support a strong and stable supply of domestic minerals.

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