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House Bill Defines Aggregates as 'Strategic and Critical'

According to the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA), The House of Representatives passed legislation that would speed development of strategic and critical minerals, including aggregates, on federal lands by limiting review time for drilling permits and requiring concurrent rather than sequential consideration.

Introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act requires the secretaries of agriculture and the interior to develop domestic sources of minerals of “strategic and critical importance.”

According to the text of the bill, this would include “minerals that are support domestic manufacturing, agriculture...and transportation infrastructure.”

The bill passed 256 to 160 on July 12, with 22 Democrats joining all Republicans in favor.

Several amendments were considered during floor debate, including one offered by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) seeking to narrow the scope of the definition of “strategic and critical,” by specifically removing “sand, gravel, [or] clay.” The amendment was defeated 162 to 251, this time with 18 Democrats voting with all Republicans against the measure.

In the committee report, sand and gravel were mentioned as examples of “construction mineral materials” needed for reconstruction that could be in short supply following a major emergency (earthquake, flood, hurricane, etc.). NSSGA consulted with Amodei and his staff, the Committee on Natural Resources and several cosponsors, to confirm the purpose of the legislation. The broad definition of “strategic and critical” was written deliberately to allow for the greatest flexibility over time.

NSSGA applauds the passage of H.R.4402. Senate action is in question. The White House issued a statement expressing strong opposition to the bill, but stopped short of threatening a veto.