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National Strategic And Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Madam Chair, the bill we are considering today isn't about ensuring our supply of ``strategic and critical minerals.'' This bill is about deregulating the mining industry and the pipeline industry.

It's misnamed. It should be renamed the Koch Brothers Mining and Pipeline Deregulatory Act of 2012. It's consistent with everything that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been about during this 112th Congress. It's been about deregulation; it's been about tax breaks for the wealthy; and it's been about cutting the ability of the government to do what it needs to do.

While they're cutting the ability of the Federal agencies to assess the propriety of these kinds of activities--mining and gas line production--while they are cutting the ability to do that, they are reducing the time within which the remaining assets of the various agencies have to do the work that they are supposed to do. I'll tell you, it's important that we assess the environmental impact of various proposals on our environment, but my colleagues on the other side don't care about the environment.

Almost a year ago, the Natural Resources Committee produced H.R. 2011, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act, a bipartisan bill that actually did address supply vulnerabilities for truly strategic and critical minerals policy. I was proud to work with Ranking Member Markey and Chairman Hastings to coauthor that legislation, and it was passed unanimously by their committee.

That bill, H.R. 2011, would have passed this body with broad bipartisan support and would probably have passed the Senate, too. It could have been a rare glimpse of actual governance in this totally politicized Tea Party House of Representatives. Unfortunately, I understand that bill was obstructed by Republican leadership. I wonder why.

Could it be the Koch brothers? Things go better with Coke. Could it be because the mining industry instructed them to attack environmental regulations instead? Did someone get a phone call from Rush Limbaugh with instructions?

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Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Rather than bringing the bipartisan H.R. 2011, here we have a wolf in sheep's clothing, a bill that purports to serve our national security interests but, in truth, just seeks to undermine environmental regulations that protect the health and well-being of Americans throughout this great country.

It's just another episode in a long saga of misleadingly named Republican legislation, bills that claim to help the country, but really just help the special interests. What a shame.

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