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McMorris Rodgers, Westerman Lead Legislation Strengthening American Supply Chains


09.22.22

Washington, D.C. — Today, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the Securing America’s Mineral Supply Chains Act. U.S. Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Bob Latta (R-Ohio), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), and Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) joined the bill as original cosponsors.

“To win the future and flip the switch on America energy production, America must reduce our critical mineral dependence on adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party and Russia. It’s essential to our energy and national security. Permitting reform is the single biggest issue impacting mining and manufacturing in America,” Rodgers said. “That’s why I’m leading with Ranking Member Bruce Westerman and my Republican colleagues on Energy and Commerce on the Securing American Mineral Supply Chains Act. It will streamline the permitting process for mining on federal lands and authorize national security waivers to expedite permitting of mineral processing and refining facilities here at home. I would like to thank Rep. Bob Latta and Rep. Fred Upton for leading on solutions in this package. Rep. Latta’s bill will establish a strategic reserve of uranium and reduce our dependence on Russia, and Rep. Upton’s will direct the Department of Energy to counter China’s dominance in the critical energy resource supply chain and strategically boost America’s domestic production and refining capacity.”

Hardrock minerals are used in so many of our everyday items that our economy is intrinsically bound to mining, Westerman said. Given that reality, the question now becomes what are we doing to secure our supply chains to prevent any disruptions? If you ask the Biden administration, the answer is nothing. While Democrats are singularly focused on shuttering every domestic mine in sight, they are content to sell out to China, Russia, and other foreign adversaries instead. These America-last policies are barreling the U.S. straight toward a national security crisis. Our legislation would immediately reverse course by moving supply chains away from China, prioritizing sustainable development of the minerals we already have right here at home, streamlining outdated permitting processes, innovating throughout the sector, supporting domestic refining and processing and more. China doesnt own us, and its time to prove that by ending our dependence on them for good.

“America cannot achieve full energy independence without a stable supply of domestically produced critical minerals,” Upton said. “The U.S. cannot count on China, and we should not allow China to continue dominating the critical minerals market. We have the supply here at home, and this bill provides tools for DOE to increase domestic production and refining capacity, diversify supply sources, and to assess vulnerabilities in our supply chain so they can be addressed going forward.”

“The unfortunate reality is that the United States has lost its competitive edge in the development of nuclear energy,” said Latta.“For the U.S. to keep pace with our allies and rivals, we must invest in nuclear power and build up our capacity to control all steps of the nuclear fuel cycle. Relying on foreign nations to supply uranium and other energy materials to the U.S. will never provide for a secure future. That is why I am glad that my bill, the NO RUSSIA Act, is included in this legislative package put forward by Natural Resources and Energy and Commerce Republicans. This bill will cut America’s reliance on Russian uranium and support nuclear innovation right here in the United States.”

“Reliable access to critical minerals is essential to America’s economic and national security,” Calvert said. “Thanks to the leadership of Ranking Member Westerman, we are proposing real solutions to address our critical mineral vulnerabilities. We must take action to reverse course on America’s growing dependence on foreign nations for these vital resources and hold China and Russia accountable for their efforts to undermine our security.”

“The Securing American Mineral Supply Chains Act, introduced by my friend and colleague Ranking Member Bruce Westerman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, answers the call for America’s domestic mineral needs,” Stauber said. For far too long, America has been reliant on foreign countries like China, Russia, and the Congo in our mineral supply chains. However, we are blessed with vast mineral wealth and a world class workforce. Let’s mine, process, and manufacture here at home, with high-wage high-quality jobs. Ranking Member Westerman’s legislation today does just that. I am a proud original cosponsor and I look forward to this bill being law.”

Background

Hardrock mining projects across the country – vital to supplying the U.S. and our allies with minerals like copper, cobalt, and lithium – are repeatedly blocked, caught in a morass of endless red tape. Hardrock minerals are irreplaceable components in computers, defense systems, renewable energy technologies, and dozens of applications.

In order to meet this skyrocketing demand and enhance America’s economic competitiveness, the Securing America’s Mineral Supply Chains Act would:

  1. Designate a lead federal agency to coordinate the mine permitting process to maximize efficiency and minimize delays for mining projects on federal land.
  2. Set time limits for key steps in the federal permitting process.
  3. Prohibit mineral withdrawals on federal lands without a recent mineral assessment or a certification that a proposed withdrawal would not impede a secure U.S. supply chain.
  4. Prohibit the reversal of existing leases, permits, or claims for critical mineral or aggregate development without an act of Congress.
  5. Strengthen national security by requiring USGS to report to Congress on the involvement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China in mining and processing in countries from which the U.S. imports minerals, including an evaluation of strategic or security concerns due to such involvement.
  6. Strengthen national and energy security by authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency to grant waivers, as appropriate, for certain environmental requirements to critical energy resource facilities.
  7. Unlock permitting delays for and promote commercialization of new critical energy resource facilities and operations by facilitating timely and flexible environmental permitting and public health related reviews.

To read the full section-by-section breakdown, CLICK HERE.

Press Release