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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4402, National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROHRABACHER. I rise in support of the rule and rise in support of H.R. 4402.

Tomorrow, we will be considering H.R. 4402, that takes significant steps towards making much-needed reforms to our Nation's mineral exploration and mineral permitting process. H.R. 4402 will force the hands of unyielding bureaucrats who seem intent on obstructing any and all mining, despite the detrimental effects that their actions have on the American people.

At a time when China threatens to hamstring our military capabilities and cripple American health care, telecommunications, and renewable energy markets by controlling or reducing our access to rare Earth minerals, we must take responsible action to ensure our access to minerals that are vital to our prosperity and security. In short, the timely licensing of mineral applications is critical to our Nation's survival and to preserving the American way of life, which is opportunity for all to live a decent life.

While investigating this issue, the Natural Resources Committee found that it often takes over 10 years for agencies to license mineral projects. This is simply unacceptable. But the forces that arrogantly stand in the way of these permits should be of no surprise to us. They are the same gang who routinely stand in the way of technological and scientific advancement. That's right, extreme environmentalists--I remember Ronald Reagan said that some of these people would rather live in a bird nest--some of whom are Federal bureaucrats and some of them, of course, belong to activist organizations that seem to sue for sport and constantly stand in the way of any development of natural resources that were put here by God not to be sitting in the ground, but to help ordinary people live well.

The people who are stopping us from getting those minerals are standing in the way of ordinary people having a decent life, which is so important and we're so proud of here, that every American should have those opportunities.

This mindset that puts the well-being of insects above the health, safety, and quality of life of human beings has contributed to the 8.2 percent unemployment rate--and that's a low figure, as far as I'm concerned. The real unemployment is far beyond that. But the restrictions that we've had on our people that would like to use these natural resources for the well-being of our people has contributed to that unemployment.

Fortunately, however, we are here today to say that we've had enough.


Mr. ROHRABACHER. I would say that luckily we are coming to our senses and having courage enough to stand up to this obstructionism by setting reasonable time limits for litigation and by setting a total review process for the issuing of permits to 30 months; 30 months is a very reasonable time.

The reforms that we put in place will ensure that American mineral mining projects are not indefinitely delayed by frivolous lawsuits or by unwilling bureaucrats, or by activists who, as I say, care more about the habitat of insects and lizards than they do about the well-being of the American people.

I come from California. I am a surfer, and I am in the water a lot--anytime I can get out there. We have had offshore oil and gas reserves in the hundreds of billions of dollars available to us, but denied the people of California. Even as we cut the programs that our seniors and our children need, these radicals will not let us get to those oil and natural gas resources. That is a sin against those older people in California and the young people.

We need to clean up that situation. Whose side are we on? We're on the side of ordinary Americans leading a decent life, and that's what this bill is all about.


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