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house Bill H.R. 2531

Should the Mining Permitting Process be Shortened to Encourage Domestic Production of Critical Minerals?

Argument in favor

The current mining permitting process is slow, burdensome and inefficient — in some cases taking a decade for a final decision to be made. Shortening the process and clarifying the federal agencies that are responsible for managing it will help new mining projects gain approval more quickly so they can produce critical and strategic minerals domestically.

Gopin2018's Opinion
···
07/20/2019
I fully support and recommend passage of this bill as written, less government red tape is always good for a capitalist economy, just look at what Obama’s EPA did too oil, coal, natural gas exploration just to name a few industries, the Keystone pipeline. Over regulation destroyed those industries until Trump cut regulations, two for everyone enacted. It freed the biggest expansion for our economy in decades enabling us to be free of the Middle East for the first time in decades. #MAGA
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SneakyPete's Opinion
···
07/20/2019
H.R.2531 AKA the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act I support and recommend the passage of House Bill H.R.2531 AKA the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act — aims to support domestic production of minerals that are of strategic and critical importance to the  economic and national security, energy infrastructure, and manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. The current mining permitting process is slow, burdensome and inefficient — in some cases taking a decade for a final decision to be made. Shortening the process and clarifying the federal agencies that are responsible for managing it will help new mining projects gain approval more quickly so they can produce critical and strategic minerals domestically. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻HR-2531👍🏻👍🏻. 7.20.19
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07/20/2019
Seven to ten years to get a mining permit is way too long. Shorten the time and get rid of unnecessary and duplication to streamline the process.
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Argument opposed

The GAO reports that the average time to approval for new mining projects in the U.S. is two years — roughly on par with over developed nations. There’s no need to expedite the approval process for new mining projects beyond the current standard and risk allowing business interests to supersede environmental considerations.

John's Opinion
···
07/20/2019
Right now the landlord for the President’s daughter, Ivanka and Son-in-Law, Jerrod Kushner, is a billionaire from Chile who wants to put a copper-sulfide mine in the watershed’s of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Lake Superior. Corruption at the highest level. Not surprising from this President, but definitely should NOT go forward.
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John's Opinion
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07/20/2019
Absolutely not. What people should do is look into what happens to land after it becomes useless for mining. You can contact any nature Conservancy to find out or I can give you the short story. I have a relative that works for the nature conservancy here’s what he told me. For the most part the land ends up being donated there’s a big hole in the ground that fills with water because water will go to the lowest place. All the exposed minerals That otherwise would never come in contact with water are released into streams and to drinking water and it’s totally toxic. There’s no real way to stop it because you can’t seal up the hole in a mountain or a hole in the ground. You have to completely fill the whole excavation which is impossible. So the pollution just spreads kills everything around it and makes people sick. Find out for yourself it’s not very hard call your local nature Conservancy.
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Mary's Opinion
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07/20/2019
Not if it creates a toxic waste that will harm the environment and people’s health.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
    IntroducedMay 7th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2531?

This bill — the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act — aims to support domestic production of minerals that are of strategic and critical importance to the  economic and national security, energy infrastructure, and manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S..

Specifically, this bill would:

  • Allow projects that provide minerals vital to job creation, energy infrastructure, American economic competitiveness and national security to be considered “infrastructure projects” as described in Obama-era Executive Order 13604, which directed federal agencies to significantly reduce the time required to make permitting and review decisions on infrastructure projects;
  • Limit the total time to authorize a critical minerals project to 30 months (versus the current 7-10 year length of time);
  • Set forth general requirements for an existing mineral exploration or mine permit application;
  • Charge the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Forest Service to appoint a project lead for the mine permitting process to coordinate with other agencies to ensure that the agencies minimize delays, set and adhere to timelines for completion of the permitting process, set clear permitting goals and track progress against goals; and
  • Exempt National Forest System land from regulations prohibiting timber tree cutting and road construction in areas without roads.

This bill would also allow for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969’s requirements to be satisfied if the BLM or the Forest Services determines that the agency issuing the permit would address specified factors such as environmental impact, alternatives to issuance of the permit, or any irreversible and irretrievable commitment of resources that would be involved in the proposed action.

Finally, this bill would define strategic and critical minerals as those are necessary:

  • For national defense and national security requirements;
  • For energy infrastructure and renewable energy production;
  • To support domestic manufacturing, agriculture, housing, telecommunications, healthcare and transportation infrastructure; and
  • For economic security and the balance of trade.

Impact

Domestic mining; U.S. mining companies; strategic and critical minerals; domestic production of strategic and critical minerals; mining project approvals; Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Forest Service; National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969; and Executive Order 13604.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2531

$300.00 Thousand
Last Congress, the CBO estimated that implementing this bill would cost less than $300,000 a year.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) reintroduced this bill from the 115th and prior Congresses to streamline the mining permitting process to end the United States’ current reliance on foreign sources of minerals that are critically important to the U.S. economy and national defense:

“Critical and strategic minerals are essential to the technologies, products, and infrastructure that make our daily lives work. Unfortunately, when it comes to mining critical and strategic minerals in America, duplicative regulations and bureaucratic inefficiencies have forced us to rely on foreign adversaries and competitors for critical minerals, a dependency that threatens the security of our nation and economy. Permitting delays stand in the way of high-paying jobs and revenue for local, often rural, communities. In fact, since the 1990’s, mineral exploration has stagnated and even declined in some cases because regulatory changes have caused the permit approvals process to take as long as ten years. The bill I introduced will decrease our dependency on foreign sources of minerals by streamlining the permitting process, allowing us to leverage our nation’s vast mineral resources while paying respect to economic, national security, and environmental concerns. This common-sense legislation has already passed the House the last four Congresses and will not change any environmental regulations, protections, or opportunity for public input. I’m pleased to have several of my House colleagues join me in introducing this bill and look forward to working together to modernize the outdated, job-crushing policies that are hamstringing our economy and jeopardizing our national security.”

When this bill was under consideration in the 115th Congress, Rep. Amodei said:

"Critical and strategic minerals are essential to the technologies that make our daily lives and economy work. Unfortunately, when it comes to mining strategic and critical minerals domestically, duplicative regulations, bureaucratic inefficiency, and lack of coordination between federal agencies unnecessarily threaten our economy and jeopardize our national security.”

The National Mining Association expressed its support for this bill in 2018. In a press release, its president and CEO, Hal Quinn, said:

“While America is home to $6.2 trillion worth of mineral resources, a lengthy and duplicative federal permitting process that can last upwards of a decade discourages investment and jeopardizes the growth of downstream industries. High-wage jobs and technological innovation depend on a secure and reliable domestic mineral supply chain, and this bill gets us closer to delivering that security. With significant delays in the permitting system, it is no small wonder America’s dependence on mineral imports has doubled over the past 20 years. Today, less than half of the mineral needs of U.S. manufacturing are met from domestically mined minerals. These trends will only worsen if we do not advance policies that enable U.S. mining to perform to its full potential. We can do better – and we must for our country to realize its full mineral supply potential. When U.S. mining thrives, so does American industry. NMA applauds… this legislation, which will improve coordination among state and federal agencies, clarify responsibilities, avoid duplication, set timeframes for completion, and bring badly needed accountability to the process – all without compromising our rigorous environmental standards.”

Some Democrats note this bill doesn’t limit what can be a “critical mineral,” thus allowing mining activities to receive less-burdensome Interior Dept. reviews. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) criticized this bill for being overly broad in 2018. He argued, “I don't doubt the importance of sand and gravel, but we are not at risk of a strategic sand deficit or foreign companies imposing a gravel embargo. This bill really has nothing to do with strategic or critical minerals as it's defined."

The Patagonia Area Resource Alliance expressed its opposition to this bill in 2013. It argued that this bill “would require less public review and environmental protection for all hardrock mines proposed anywhere in this country… [taking] an already privileged industry and gives them even more, while harming rural communities and putting clean water at risk.” It characterized this bill as “aimed at streamlining U.S. mining project permitting and limiting citizen lawsuits against mining projects” at the cost of the public interest.

In December 2017, President Trump issued an executive order calling on federal agencies to devise a strategy to ensure that the U.S. has a reliable supply of critical minerals. The order reads, “It shall be the policy of the federal government to reduce the nation's vulnerability to disruptions in the supply of critical minerals, which constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States.”

This bill has 33 Republican cosponsors in the 116th Congress. In the 115th Congress, it passed the House Natural Resources Committee by a 21-16 vote with the support of 36 Republican cosponsors. Rep. Amodei has introduced this bill for five years running.

The National Mining Association, National Stone, Sand, & Gravel Association (NSSGA), American Exploration & Mining Association, Americans for Limited Government, Citizens Against Government Waste, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49, CEMEX, Pershing Gold, Women’s Mining Coalition, Alaska Miners Association, Coeur Mining, Colorado Mining Association, Idaho Mining Association, Jobs For Minnesotans, MiningMinnesota, Nevada Mining Association, Reshoring Initiative, Up North Jobs, Utah Mining Association and Wyoming Mining Association supported this bill in past Congresses.


Of NoteThe U.S. Geological Survey believes 35 minerals, most of which are found in Alaska, qualify as critical minerals:

  • Aluminum (bauxite), used in almost all sectors of the economy;
  • Antimony, used in batteries and flame retardants;
  • Arsenic, used in lumber preservatives, pesticides, and semi-conductors;
  • Barite, used in cement and petroleum industries;
  • Beryllium, used as an alloying agent in aerospace and defense industries;
  • Bismuth, used in medical and atomic research;
  • Cesium, used in research and development;
  • Chromium, used primarily in stainless steel and other alloys;
  • Cobalt, used in rechargeable batteries and superalloys;
  • Fluorspar, used in the manufacture of aluminum, gasoline, and uranium fuel;
  • Gallium, used for integrated circuits and optical devices like LEDs;
  • Germanium, used for fiber optics and night vision applications;
  • Graphite (natural), used for lubricants, batteries, and fuel cells;
  • Hafnium, used for nuclear control rods, alloys, and high-temperature ceramics;
  • Helium, used for MRIs, lifting agent, and research;
  • Indium, mostly used in LCD screens;
  • Lithium, used primarily for batteries;
  • Magnesium, used in furnace linings for manufacturing steel and ceramics;
  • Manganese, used in steelmaking;
  • Niobium, used mostly in steel alloys;
  • Platinum group metals, used for catalytic agents;
  • Potash, primarily used as a fertilizer;
  • Rare earth elements group, primarily used in batteries and electronics;
  • Rhenium, used for lead-free gasoline and superalloys;
  • Rubidium, used for research and development in electronics;
  • Scandium, used for alloys and fuel cells;
  • Strontium, used for pyrotechnics and ceramic magnets;
  • Tantalum, used in electronic components, mostly capacitors;
  • Tellurium, used in steelmaking and solar cells;
  • Tin, used as protective coatings and alloys for steel;
  • Titanium, overwhelmingly used as a white pigment or metal alloys;
  • Tungsten, primarily used to make wear-resistant metals;
  • Uranium, mostly used for nuclear fuel;
  • Vanadium, primarily used for titanium alloys; and
  • Zirconium, used in the high-temperature ceramics industries.

Tim Petty, assistant secretary of the Interior for water and science, says “[a]ny shortage of these resources constitutes a strategic vulnerability for the security and prosperity of the United States.”

In a 2018 op-ed in The Hill, University of Colorado Law School professor and Earthworks board member Mark Squillace argued that the U.S. is already “one of the most mine-friendly countries in the world.” Citing a GAO report concluding that “mine permitting takes, on average, just two years — similar to other major developed countries” and delays “are primarily attributed to mining companies, not the government,” Squillace argued that there’s no need to “loosen the already weak programs that are supposed to protect our communities.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Sunshine Seeds)

AKA

National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act

Official Title

To require the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of the minerals and mineral materials of strategic and critical importance to the economic and national security and manufacturing competitiveness of the United States, and for other purposes.

    I fully support and recommend passage of this bill as written, less government red tape is always good for a capitalist economy, just look at what Obama’s EPA did too oil, coal, natural gas exploration just to name a few industries, the Keystone pipeline. Over regulation destroyed those industries until Trump cut regulations, two for everyone enacted. It freed the biggest expansion for our economy in decades enabling us to be free of the Middle East for the first time in decades. #MAGA
    Like (37)
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    Right now the landlord for the President’s daughter, Ivanka and Son-in-Law, Jerrod Kushner, is a billionaire from Chile who wants to put a copper-sulfide mine in the watershed’s of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Lake Superior. Corruption at the highest level. Not surprising from this President, but definitely should NOT go forward.
    Like (101)
    Follow
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    Absolutely not. What people should do is look into what happens to land after it becomes useless for mining. You can contact any nature Conservancy to find out or I can give you the short story. I have a relative that works for the nature conservancy here’s what he told me. For the most part the land ends up being donated there’s a big hole in the ground that fills with water because water will go to the lowest place. All the exposed minerals That otherwise would never come in contact with water are released into streams and to drinking water and it’s totally toxic. There’s no real way to stop it because you can’t seal up the hole in a mountain or a hole in the ground. You have to completely fill the whole excavation which is impossible. So the pollution just spreads kills everything around it and makes people sick. Find out for yourself it’s not very hard call your local nature Conservancy.
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    Not if it creates a toxic waste that will harm the environment and people’s health.
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    We have plenty of area in our own state that are still damaged from bauxite mining for aluminum during ww2. The environment doesn’t recover for a lifetime or more. The mine drainage, the terrain damage, the permanently altered water table, the toxic blue water holes... it’s just a huge mess. Making it easier is not what we want. If anything make it harder.
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    Some of these materials would unquestionably be of great strategic value. That doesn’t mean we should shortcut the permitting process. We need to protect our population from the historically harmful effects of hurried, unmonitored mining; both near term and long term. I see this bill as an excuse to rape our natural resources for near-term profit. While our wealthy were busy going for quick profits, China was busy buying the world-wide mineral rights to 90% of the world’s rare earths - of great strategic import fo modern electronics. This highlights the need for our country to begin thinking and committing to long-term strategies, longer than a presidential term and certainly longer than an annual stock holders report- and not just jump to support near-term profiteering without carefully assessing future impact and needs. So, Nay to shortcutting permit processes. Protection of people and natural resources are more important than today’s great ‘deal’ or a pumped up annual ROI.
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    Absolutely not. Our rates are on par with other nations. Mining is brutal on the environment, and the public deserves time to be notified and give feedback on proposed projects. Environmental impact statements and risk assessments also should not be rushed.
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    And many of the existing mines should be cleaned up or shut down. If the public really knew what mining has done to our environment I would hope they would be outraged. Stop the destruction of our environment! Stricter rules and enforced consequences for breach of regulations.
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    Our Administration has shown they cannot be trusted with our health and safety. Not only the people living in these areas would be endangered, but we are all endangered as our waters become polluted with heavy metals and other poisons. Please work to protect your constituents.
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    No. We need regulations and environmental protections Don’t allow mining interests to run amok.
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    Should processes be thoughtfully updated and streamlined? Yes. But shortening time frames is political speak for just removing requirements and ramming through applications without due diligence. The mining companies have been shown for over a 100 years or more to be interested in only profits and have never cared for their workers, their families or their environment without regulation.
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    H.R.2531 AKA the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act I support and recommend the passage of House Bill H.R.2531 AKA the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act — aims to support domestic production of minerals that are of strategic and critical importance to the  economic and national security, energy infrastructure, and manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. The current mining permitting process is slow, burdensome and inefficient — in some cases taking a decade for a final decision to be made. Shortening the process and clarifying the federal agencies that are responsible for managing it will help new mining projects gain approval more quickly so they can produce critical and strategic minerals domestically. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻HR-2531👍🏻👍🏻. 7.20.19
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    We’ve mined plenty of these materials already! The process doesn’t need to be shortened. There’s something very important called the environment that we’re supposed to protect! Shortening the process will only mean ignoring any environmental or public health concerns!
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    Hell NO! God,they will never cease in their efforts to destroy our earth, will they? There will be hell to pay, if we don’t stop this. People, WAKE UP! PLEASE! Like it, I.Got.an.Idea. How can we continue to ignore the facts/truth? It’s beyond me!
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    We live in a country that should properly and carefully vet all permis
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    Absolutely NOT. There is a reason we have regulations on mining activities. We all know that rushing any activity, generally results in errors and failures that harm the public. Most of the issues we are experiencing today is due to deregulation, putting profits before people and miscommunication. Hyperconsumerism and Hypercapitalism is taking away life-Quality and only benefits special interests. Many of the problems we are experiencing worldwide, are caused from these practices. The pacific trash/ plastic island. Deteriorating coral reefs, depletion of ocean ecosystems, massive oil spills, fracking, massive landfills, landfill leaks, phosphate mining and major toxic spills in Florida, destruction of Florida Everglades, toxification of Great Lakes, Toxic pollution in Onondaga Lake - Syracuse, NY, destruction and deterioration of Florida intracoastal waters, blue-green algae, red tide, brown tide, Lake Okeechobee, Blue Cypress Lake, City Of St Petersburg FL dumping millions of gallons of sewage into Tampabay for profits, Chicago dumping all sewage into Great Lakes and Mississippi River for profits, massive oil spills for profits, chemicals sprayed over all farmlands for profits. We spill milk for profits. This issue there is farmers bred too many dairy cows for profits and seek Government funds for profit, after consuming more land, water, grains, human food for profits. All of these issues are caused from Corporate greed and negatively impact the life-quality of the Citizens of The United States. They make people sick, diseased, dead or murdered and Corporations profit from people’s sickness and death. Tax payers are forced to clean up the toxins-and issues created by these Corporate greed and profits. Put people first, environment first, wildlife, ecosystems and Corporations will still be able to profit. Make America Great Again - Put People First, Put Environment First. Everyone prospers. There will still be jobs. If a corrupt company goes under, an ethical company will move in to employ people and provide services and products.
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    I have a very bad feeling about this bill and that it’s being set up especially for the purposes of rare earth mineral mining, the most polluting type of mining on the face of the earth. No. Absolutely no. We already complain that China is the most polluting country of all and that is why. They have a near monopoly on rare earth mining which I know the US would love to break but we have never been able to do so because the cost of not totally destroying the environment makes it cost prohibitive and it is a very long process to get approvals. No mining process of any kind should ever be sped up at the cost of damage or potential damage to our environment. Enough damage has already been done for the sake of the almighty dollar. I will never support this bill.
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    This is nothing more than a bid to rape our natural resources & destroying the earth for the sake of money. Look at what is happening in Arizona where the guy who wants to construct around a town deplete the water and will kill endangered species. Once these are gone they do not come back.
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    I don't think there should be mining at all.
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    No—Mark Amodei HR 2531 Nay due to environmental damages!!
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