Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) introduced H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012, to allow the United States to more efficiently develop strategic and critical minerals, such as rare earth elements, that are vital to job creation, American economic competitiveness and national security. The bill streamlines the permitting process for mineral development by coordinating the actions of federal agencies.
“In the 2012 ranking of countries for mining investment, the United States ranked last, tied with Papua New Guinea, in permitting delays," said Amodei. "Duplicative regulations, bureaucratic inefficiency and lack of coordination between federal agencies are threatening the economic recovery of my home state and jeopardizing our national security. Nevada, which is rich in strategic and critical minerals, also has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Decade-long permitting delays are standing in the way of high-paying jobs and revenue for local communities. This bill would streamline the permitting process to leverage our nation's vast mineral resources, while paying due respect to economic and environmental concerns.”
“Job creation, economic growth and increased energy security are top priorities for House Republicans and Rep. Amodei’s bill addresses all three of these goals,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) “America cannot afford to be heavily reliant on foreign countries for our energy or for strategic and critical minerals that are necessary for so many of the products used in our daily lives. We have all seen the impact of our dependence on foreign oil; when we have the resources, like rare earth elements, available here at home there is no reason that we should have complete dependence on foreign minerals. Rep. Amodei’s bill is a common sense plan to create jobs and increase American-made energy and mineral production.”
Specifically, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012 will:
- Require the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of strategic and critical minerals and mineral materials; including rare earth elements.
- Define strategic and critical minerals as those that are necessary:
(a) For national defense and national security requirements.
(b) For the Nation’s energy infrastructure including pipelines, refining capacity, electrical power generation and transmission, and renewable energy production.
(c) To support domestic manufacturing, agriculture, housing, telecommunications, healthcare and transportation infrastructure.
(d) For the Nation’s economic security and balance of trade.
- Facilitate timely permitting process for mineral exploration and mine development projects by clearly defining the responsibilities of a lead agency.
- Currently, it can take up to 15 years for agencies to issue permits to allow mineral mining work to begin; the bill will limit the total review process for issuing permits to 30 months unless signatories to the permitting timeline agree to an extension.
- Ensure American mineral mining projects are not indefinitely delayed by frivolous lawsuits by setting reasonable time limits for litigation. Sets a 90 day time limit to file a legal challenge to an energy project, requires the venue for actions challenging the mining project to the judicial district where the project is located, and limits any preliminary injunctions to halt mining projects to 60 days unless the court finds clear reason to extend the injunction.