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Biden's Mineral Announcement Misses Bigger Picture


WASHINGTON, D.C., March 31, 2022 -

Today, President Joe Biden announced he is invoking Defense Protection Act powers in order to ramp up domestic production of critical minerals.

"After more than two years of repeated assaults on American energy and mineral production - including shuttering the Twin Metals project in Minnesota - it is laughable that President Biden is now offering platitudes as American energy prices skyrocket and his approval ratings are in freefall. It's patently obvious that we need a dramatic increase in domestic critical minerals production to support a growing technological demand. Unfortunately, both this administration and congressional Democrats have been content since day one to say 'not in my backyard' and allow China to develop a stranglehold on mines around the world. I'm glad to see President Biden heeding Republican wakeup calls on the need for critical minerals, but his actions will be irrelevant if he doesn't simultaneously streamline permitting processes for domestic production. Without this, mineral production here in the U.S. will continue stalling in a morass of bureaucratic red tape while China and our adversaries run laps around us." - House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.)

"If President Biden was serious about securing our critical mineral supply chains, he wouldn’t be shutting down mines like in Arizona and Minnesota and intentionally misusing the Defense Production Act to distract from his rush-to-green agenda. He must work with Congress to lift the regulatory burden and reform the permitting process for more mining and processing here in America. My colleagues and I stand ready to pass solutions to secure our supply chains from the Chinese Communist Party over the long term. This includes H.R. 6858, American Energy Independence from Russia Act, which would protect mining and critical minerals production from further attacks by the Biden Administration. In addition, H.R. 1599, Securing America’s Critical Minerals Supply Act, would have the Department of Energy focus on securing critical minerals and other necessary materials for our energy supply. Taking action to reform the permitting process is necessary to win the future." - House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) 

Background

Today's invocation of Title III of the Defense Protection Act will allow Biden to use federal resources to incentivize domestic production of critical minerals. The order focuses primarily on the five minerals necessary for electric vehicle batteries - graphite, manganese, cobalt, nickel and lithium - and will provide loans and grants aimed at feasibility studies for domestic processing.

Congressional Republicans have long called for an increase of domestic critical minerals production and have taken legislative action, including:

  • H.R. 2604, the Accessing America's Critical Mineral Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Stauber (R-Minn.), which establishes deadlines to complete the environmental review of critical mineral projects on federal land and sets forth related requirements to expedite the review of such projects under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
  • H.R. 2637, the American Critical Minerals Independence Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), which provides support for a domestic supply of critical minerals, establishes deadlines to complete the environmental review of critical mineral projects on federal land, and sets forth related requirements to expedite the review of such projects under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.
H.R. 3240, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2021, introduced by U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), which sets forth environmental review requirements for the mine permitting process and limits the review to 30 months.

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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