May 07, 2015
Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) “American Mineral Se...
In his State of the Union address, President Obama hailed the vibrancy and strength of the American economy. Our nation’s minerals mining industry has played an important part and is an exemplary case of how “our spirit of discovery” can positively impact all Americans. Through bipartisan reform of mine permitting policies these economic gains can be dramatically improved upon, ensuring that the U.S. continues to thrive.
President Obama stated that “the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.” Minerals have been essential to contributing to this economic strength. Billions of dollars’ worth of minerals are mined annually, not only providing thousands of jobs in the industry but also fueling growth throughout the rest of the U.S. economy.
“We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs [were created],” the president said. “Our auto industry just had its best year ever. That’s just part of a manufacturing surge that’s created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.” As the foundation of U.S manufacturing, the minerals mining industry has delivered the raw materials that have driven a renaissance of American manufacturing. Also, it creates direct and indirect job growth—the mining of iron alone is responsible for more than 21,000 direct and indirect jobs. And our booming auto industry has reaped the rewards of a strong mining industry. For example, each year carmakers use billions of dollars’ worth of platinum to develop catalytic converters, a part essential to reducing vehicle emissions.
Despite all the benefits provided by the mining industry, its impact could be even greater. Currently, more than $6.2 trillion dollars’ worth of minerals are located in American soil; minerals that could be used to ensure generations of economic prosperity and security. However, due to our nation’s inefficient and duplicative mine permitting process, these resources remain locked underground, denying the U.S of their benefits.
Fortunately, 2016 may be the year America’s true mineral potential is unlocked. Rep. Mark Amodei’s “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015” (which the House passed last fall for the fourth time) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015” will help improve the current permitting process.
While these two bills are important steps in the right direction towards ensuring America’s security and competitiveness in the global economy, now is the time for U.S. policymakers to act in supporting these pieces of legislation. Take action to let them know that 2016 is the year for mineral reform here.