Letter of Support: Rep. Lamborn's Minerals Policy Act, H.R. 2011
Dear Representative Lamborn,
On behalf of more than 1.7 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I commend your recent introduction of H.R. 2011, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act. Your bill would shine much-needed light on the regulatory burdens and permitting delays standing in the way of an efficient and competitive domestic minerals industry.
Mineral resources are an essential part of any modern society, contributing to every sector of our economy. As House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) noted at a recent hearing, “Minerals are not only the building blocks of the earth, but are indispensible to our health, economy, technology, renewable energy, national defense, and quality of life. From shampoos to cars, computers to telephones, there is literally not a moment in the day when we don’t use a product that is made from minerals.” Keeping up with demand for minerals is important to keeping prices down for the tens of thousands of products that American consumers purchase and use every day.
The United States has rich deposits of important minerals such as copper, gold, and iron ore. While the industry has rebounded somewhat from the effects of the recent financial crisis, a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey shows two concerning trends.
First, our country has become significantly more dependent on imports in the last 30 years, with the U.S. now a net importer of 43 raw and processed minerals. Today we are 100 percent import-reliant for 18 raw materials including common inputs like graphite, industrial quartz, and bauxite. Twenty years ago the U.S. led world production of rare earths – today China produces 97 percent of the world’s supply.
Second, domestic employment across all sectors of the minerals industry has declined by more than 15 percent in the last five years, resulting in the loss of more than 200,000 American jobs. If a domestic supply of minerals can produce cheaper inputs for our nation’s manufacturers and more jobs for American workers, then these are trends we want to reverse. Your legislation lays the groundwork for a potential revitalization of private investment in domestic mining by calling for an updated study of the nation’s mineral needs, available deposits, and development capacity.
Your bill also requires a thorough examination of the extent that regulatory red tape and delays in processing permitting requests stand in the way of profitable domestic production. We’ve seen plenty of examples of how the current administration has stalled or all together blocked domestic production of natural resources. Any similar burdens on mineral producers should be exposed.
As the House of Representatives continues its efforts to expand domestic production of our nation’s wealth of natural resources by getting government out of the way, let’s not forget the important role a robust domestic supply of minerals can play in boosting economic output and quality of life for all Americans. Your bill provides a strong first step by surveying available resources and identifying the unnecessary regulatory barriers to domestic mineral development.
Americans for Prosperity is proud to support your legislation. I urge your colleagues to support H.R. 2011, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity