Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers belongs to the mining industry. She co-sponsored the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act (HR 1904) and is a major booster for the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (HR 1937). HR 1904 resulted in the transfer of sacred Apache lands to a foreign mining company, while HR 1937 subverts communities by severely undermining the public input process in mining permit decisions.
The hardrock mining (think gold, copper, uranium, rare earths) trade lobby has made a career of trying to convince Congress that the the federal mine permitting process is so burdensome as to chase away those who would otherwise invest in mineral development in the United States. When asked for proof of this “problem” they point to the interminable permitting process for new mines: they claim it can take the better part of a decade to permit a mine.
This week, the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the Chairman’s bill, S. 883, the American Mineral Security Act of 2015. The bill serves a number of noble purposes, yet also creates a worrisome permitting structure that could undermine community rights.
This week the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources met to hear HR 1937: the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015. Under this bill, anything pulled from the ground is a strategic and critical mineral and none of it receives adequate environmental review.
This week Earthworks staff received a draft of a bill that will become the Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. The legislation directs the United States Geological Survey to draw up a list of minerals critical to our nation’s needs and creates a series of policies designed to improve manufacturing, production, permitting, recycling, and alternatives to these metals.