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National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LAMBORN. I thank the chairman.

Madam Chairman, I am pleased to speak in support of H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012, introduced by my colleague, Representative Amodei, of which I am a cosponsor. This bill was heard in our Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee on April 26.

Although Americans hear a lot about our dependence on foreign oil, they may not know about our dependence on foreign countries for minerals critical to our manufacturing, national defense, communications, and medical care needs.

Over the years, we have allowed frivolous lawsuits and unnecessary regulations to stifle our domestic production of these vital minerals. Today, the United States is nearly 100 percent reliant on countries such as China for rare Earth elements that are essential to our economy. We should all be troubled by China's recent policies restricting exports of these critical minerals. But rather than complain about that to the World Trade Organization, as the Obama administration is doing, we should simply support our efforts to allow production of and access to our own vast domestic supplies.

This bill is a bipartisan plan that cuts red tape by streamlining the permitting process for mineral development which will create jobs and help grow the economy. Under current laws and regulations, it could take a developer up to 10 years to get all the government permits in place. This bill would shorten that time down to just over 2 years.

These minerals are essential components of technologies in everyday items ranging from cell phones, computers, medical equipment, renewable energy products, high-tech military equipment, and building supplies. They are vital to our country's manufacturing sector and our ability to create jobs. Every job in metals mining creates an estimated 2.3 additional job.

It's time for America to get serious about rare Earth and strategic minerals. We can start by opening up our $6 trillion worth of untapped mineral resources.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

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