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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. AMODEI. Madam Chair, I'm going to follow on the theme from my colleague from the Garden State: Why? Why an 11 1/2 -page bill that does two things; sets a 30-month--not rock-hard, no pun intended--time limit on Federal permitting decisions for mines and says, if you don't like that decision, you've got to sue in 60 days?

Why are you not talking about what's the problem with 2 1/2 years to talk about the permit? What's the problem with providing some predictability to the timing of the permitting process? What's the problem with not stringing people out under NEPA for over a decade for mine decisions? Why are we not hearing about that?

The giveaway stuff is phenomenally entertaining. This does nothing to tax law. This does nothing to safety law. This does nothing to supplant NEPA, and this does nothing to supplant any State fix. This is an 11-plus-page bill that says you've got 30 months--and by the way, if you both agree, you can use more than 30 months. Now, what's the translation of that? God forbid we have collaboration between an applicant and a Federal land use agency in this process.

Why are you afraid of collaboration? Why are you afraid of setting a time limit? And where in the 1969 NEPA law--since we're talking about old stuff--does it say this is a marathon, and if you can outwait them--forget about the facts, forget about the science, forget about the technology--we're going to obfuscate and delay and hope that you will go away? Because, you know what--my hat's off--it's become a great weapon in this.

But when less than 1 percent of the surface area of Federal land in this Nation is impacted by mining, I think what it's really about is we don't want any predictability for this because we're basically against an industry.

Everybody's got a definition of ``strategic.'' When you talk about transportation, medical devices, national defense, the economy, I think those are strategic and critical things.

So I would urge your support on this, to bring some collaboration, truly, instead of making this an administrative marathon for purposes of permitting.

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Mr. AMODEI. Madam Chair, I would just briefly indicate--and I want to thank you for finally looking at section 102 and talking about the bill. I appreciate that. It's a great day in my young career that that has happened.

Let's look at what section 102 does that is so insidious for the wheel of giveaways, which by the way we want to borrow and paste over it. Instead of what you've got, how about the wheel of takeaways? Takeaways from national defense, takeaways from communications, takeaways from national infrastructure, takeaways from balance of trade; oh, and let's talk about takeaways from living-wage jobs without standing benefits, some of which are, in fact, union jobs. So the wheel of takeaways we won't bore you with, but that wheel can go both ways.

Section 102, interestingly enough, if you like this, this is a bad thing. It requires best practices, Madam Chair, for things like considering State agency reports that have jurisdiction over the issue. That's a pretty frivolous takeaway. It already exists.

Or how about considering best practices for conducting reviews concurrently? Oh, my God, the Republicans are giving something away, conducting reviews concurrently. Oh, my goodness. How about expediting rather than delaying the process?

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Mr. AMODEI. Madam Chair, I appreciate the comments.

I would just like to point out, for the Record, since we're talking about Western abandoned mines, what's your definition of abandoned mine? Because if it's where somebody pushed up a little dirt and that's considered an abandoned mine, quite frankly, we're pretty proud in Nevada of the job that our Division of Environmental Protection has done on abandoned mine projects. We collaborate with the Feds.

Quite simply, I believe the phrase was used earlier today, it's a solution in search of a problem. We're getting on it. We're doing very well. And quite frankly, I hope the Chair is not on this committee, but when you see a 12 1/2 gross proceeds tax subject to the appropriations process of my colleagues here, no thank you very much.

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