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Public Statements

National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the time.

I stand here today in support of the bill of my friend and colleague, Mark Amodei.

I think it's really important that we use America's resources responsibly to grow jobs in this country. We need American jobs using American resources and not relying on foreign imports and driving our jobs offshore. This is especially important when it comes to our mineral resources. We've heard all the rhetoric on the other side of the aisle, all that stuff. Let me just talk to you about the eastern Oregon miners.

They are individual men and women. They are very blue collar. They are not part of the wealthy class you hear talked about here. They've just been trying to work with this Federal Government for over a decade to be able to use the mining claims that they have. Back in 2001 and 2004, the Forest Service grouped together 49 mining plans of operations for analysis and approval. Then in 2005, the Forest Service decision to approve the plans was then litigated, and it resulted in the requirement that the Agency reduce some of its analysis.

Today, 11 years later, the Federal Government still can't get their work done. This is in an area that at one time in our history produced some of the most substantial gold, silver, and minerals that we need in the United States.

When we pull out all our little electronic gadgets--you know what?--if it weren't for the mining interests in America, you wouldn't have those gadgets, because that's what goes into what we use. We need to be able to use America's resources. This allows us to do it.

The 42 mining operations in Baker County, if they were allowed to work--and these are just average Americans just trying to do what they're allowed to do under Federal law but held up because of the Federal agency's inability to get their work done or unwillingness to in the North Fork and the Burnt River and elsewhere. If they could just move forward, if they could just get an answer out of the Federal Government in something short of 10 or 11 years, they could be producing jobs. They could be producing mineral resources and wealth for this country, the United States of America. We can create jobs here using our mineral resources.

Some of these people have died waiting. You shouldn't have to die waiting for your Federal Government to get its work done. That's why we need this bill.


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