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Public Statements

National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BENISHEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I come to the floor today to express my support for H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. This bill will expedite responsible mineral production in the United States by reducing Federal red tape and by speeding up the Federal permitting process to create new mining jobs.

My northern Michigan district is blessed with abundant mineral resources. From copper mines in Keweenaw and Houghton to the iron mines in Marquette and the western parts of the Upper Peninsula, mining has been the foundation of northern Michigan's economy. Currently, mining contributes over $4 billion to Michigan's economy annually and employs over 30,000 people. Today, new mining operations in northern Michigan are being explored. These mines have the potential to create thousands of new jobs. In fact, just last week, I visited one of these new mine sites and was able to see firsthand the work that they are doing to responsibly utilize Michigan's vast copper resources.

Regrettably, the Federal Government and Washington bureaucrats have been standing in the way of new mines across this country. Due to lawsuits and government inefficiency, the current process of acquiring permits for a new mining project can take more than a decade. That's right, a decade. While our economy is struggling, we can not afford to wait 10 years while the Federal Government sits on its hands. We need to encourage the responsible use of our mineral resources to create jobs and keep America competitive with the rest of the world.

Madam Chair, I encourage all Members to support this commonsense legislation to speed up this process and create jobs. If we can get the Federal Government out of the way, I am confident areas like northern Michigan can flourish once again.

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