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senate Bill S. 1317

Should the U.S. Develop a Comprehensive Plan for Reducing its Dependence on Foreign Rare Earth Minerals?

Argument in favor

Steadily declining domestic production of rare minerals costs American jobs, undermines economic competitiveness, leaves the U.S. at a geopolitical disadvantage, and exposes a range of industries to the whims of the global critical minerals market. By supporting a domestic supply, this bill would help address this problem.

jimK's Opinion
···
06/05/2019
Yes, if possible. Rare earths are key to most modern electronic systems. If alternatives can be developed, it would certainly be beneficial on many levels. Our country fell asleep while China gobbled up the global mining rights to rare earths and now has almost complete control of the market.
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Carmine's Opinion
···
09/12/2019
Steadily declining domestic production of rare minerals costs American jobs, undermines economic competitiveness, leaves the U.S. at a geopolitical disadvantage, and exposes a range of industries to the whims of the global critical minerals market. By supporting a domestic supply, this bill would help address this problem.
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Antonio's Opinion
···
09/12/2019
Bartering is equally as important as self-sufficiency. America should develop an extremely thought out and comprehensive plan to mine ethically, sustainably, trade, everything in moderation, and prosper.
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Argument opposed

Fears about the risks associated with the U.S. economy’s reliance on imported minerals are overblown. It’s unlikely that China will cut off rare earth elements exports to the U.S. — and even if it does, the market will step in to fill the gap quickly enough to keep U.S. businesses supplied with the minerals they need.

Abby's Opinion
···
09/12/2019
What they really mean is they want to get a green light to sell drilling, mining, and logging rights of national protected land to companies to get those products under ground. Even if it has a high chance or ruining waterways, tainting water sources, destroying preserved land, pushing some protected or beloved species toward or into extinction, destroying destinations of tourism, tainting air quality, ruining land by poisons of byproducts, and other such industry bad neighbor behavior done in the name of profits. Oil companies have been fussing for years over protections of the sage grouse because they want the products under it. So do other industry minded people who don’t give a damn about anything or anybody but their bottom line and profit margin. This is not about the American worker. Americans tend to require more money to work and ask such accommodations as worker safety protections that some other countries don’t have to deal with in such scale. This is just a cover to steal public recourses on protected public land for the industry. If the industry actually cared about the American worker then they would actually pay them a halfway decent wage that is not several degrees of power less then their CEOs.
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burrkitty's Opinion
···
09/13/2019
Abby nailed it. “What they really mean is they want to get a green light to sell drilling, mining, and logging rights of national protected land to companies to get those products under ground. Even if it has a high chance or ruining waterways, tainting water sources, destroying preserved land, pushing some protected or beloved species toward or into extinction, destroying destinations of tourism, tainting air quality, ruining land by poisons of byproducts, and other such industry bad neighbor behavior done in the name of profits. Oil companies have been fussing for years over protections of the sage grouse because they want the products under it. So do other industry minded people who don’t give a damn about anything or anybody but their bottom line and profit margin. This is not about the American worker. Americans tend to require more money to work and ask such accommodations as worker safety protections that some other countries don’t have to deal with in such scale. This is just a cover to steal public recourses on protected public land for the industry. If the industry actually cared about the American worker then they would actually pay them a halfway decent wage that is not several degrees of power less then their CEOs.” I would add that there was promising research being done on alternatives to Rare Earth Minerals, but the funding was cut by (guess who) Republicans.
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gmansshadow's Opinion
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09/12/2019
Too vague, shouldn’t allow a cart blanc rape with an executive order of lands that are protected.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    IntroducedMay 2nd, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 1317?

This bill — the  American Mineral Security Act — would develop a comprehensive plan for reducing U.S. dependence on foreign minerals, including rare earth minerals that are used in lithium ion batteries.

Specifically, it would:

  • Codify the methodology used in Executive Order 13817, A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals, to designate a list of critical minerals and require that list to be updated at least every three years;
  • Require nationwide resource assessments for every critical mineral;
  • Implement a number of permitting reforms for the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service to reduce delays in the federal process;
  • Reauthorize the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program for 10 years;
  • Authorize research and development for recycling and replacements for critical minerals, as well as chemistry, material science, and applied research and development for processing of critical minerals;
  • Require coordination and study of energy needs for remote mining deposits with microgrid research and small generation research programs across the Department of Energy’s applied offices; and
  • Require the Secretary of Labor, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct a study of the nation’s minerals workforce.

Impact

Critical minerals; rare earth minerals; electric vehicle industry; lithium industry; DOI; Dept. of Agriculture Forest Service; National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program; National Academy of Sciences; National Science Foundation (NSF); Executive Order 13817; and the Secretary of Labor.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1317

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced this bill to develop a comprehensive plan for reducing the United States’ dependence on foreign minerals. In remarks at the Benchmark Minerals Summit, where she announced this bill, Sen. Murkowski said:

“Our nation’s mineral security is a significant, urgent, and often ignored challenge. Our reliance on China and other nations for critical minerals costs us jobs, weakens our economic competitiveness, and leaves us at a geopolitical disadvantage. I greatly appreciate the administration’s actions to address this issue, but Congress needs to complement them with legislation. Our bill takes steps that are long overdue to reverse our damaging foreign dependence and position ourselves to compete in growth industries like electric vehicles and energy storage.”

Original cosponsor Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) adds that U.S. national security depends on an independent domestic critical minerals supply:

“I am grateful to continue working with Chairman Murkowski to find ways to reduce our reliance on foreign countries for critical minerals in a responsible way. Our legislation requires common sense steps to begin restoring American independence regarding critical minerals and strengthen our national security, diversify our economy and create job opportunities in our communities.”

In testimony to the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on May 14, 2019, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joseph Balash expressed support for this bill, saying:

“The Department appreciates the Chairman and the Ranking Member’s recognition of the great importance of critical minerals. We are grateful for the hard work that has been done to draft legislation that will help us fulfill the critical minerals strategy developed in response to Executive Order 13817, A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals. We look forward to working with you on the bill to best achieve these goals.”

This bill has four bipartisan cosponsors, including three Republicans and one Democrat. Sen. Murkowski has introduced similar standalone legislation in previous Congresses, in addition to including sections on critical minerals in her energy bills in both the 114th and 115th Congresses.

This bill has the support of Lithium Americas Corporation, a company currently developing a lithium project in Nevada; and Piedmont Lithium Ltd, which is developing a lithium project in North Carolina.


Of NoteAlthough there’s no official government-wide definition of critical minerals, the U.S. Geological Survey says that “broadly speaking, if a vital sector of the economy requires a mineral in order to function, that mineral would likely be deemed ‘critical.’” Thus, this category includes rare earth elements, gallium and manganese.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the U.S. imported at least 50% of 48 minerals in 2018. Of those 48 minerals, the U.S. imported 100% of 18 of them, including 100% of the nation’s supply of rare earth elements, graphite and indium. This is a marked uptick in reliance on international sources: according to Sen. Murkowski’s office, the U.S. imported 100% of only 11 different minerals and 50% of another 26 minerals as recently as 1997. With this trend in mind, Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, argues that the U.S. is in the middle of a “global battery arms race” and praises Sen. Murkowski for introducing this legislation:

“Senator Murkowski has taken a true leading role in US supply chain security for the critical minerals that are the foundation of the 21st century automotive and energy industries. We are in the midst of a global battery arms race that is intensifying. Lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel are the key enablers of the lithium ion battery and, in turn, the lithium ion battery is the key enabler of the energy storage revolution. Globally, they are facing a wall of demand especially from electric vehicles yet the US has been a bystander in building a domestic supply chain capacity. Right now, the US produces 1% of global lithium supply and only 7% of refined lithium chemical supply, while China produces 51%. For cobalt, the US has zero mining capacity and zero chemicals capacity whilst China controls 80% of this second stage. Graphite is the most extreme example with no flake graphite mining and anode production compared to China’s 51% and 100% of the world’s total, respectively. And its a similar story with nickel: under 1% mined in the US and zero capacity for nickel sulfate. These supply chains are the oil pipelines of tomorrow. The lithium ion battery is to the 21st century is what the oil barrel was to the 20th century. Senator Murkowski’s focus on not just the mineral resources but the entire supply chain is absolutely crucial to giving the industry confidence to build a US blueprint for the energy storage revolution.”

Thanks to its control over much of the world’s lithium processing and supply, China dominates the electric vehicle supply chain, producing nearly 66% of the world’s lithium ion barriers (versus America’s 5%). Securing America’s Future Energy, a nonpartisan advocacy group for renewable energies, contends that this may be detrimental to future U.S. energy independence. Robbie Diamond, the organization’s founder and president, says, “The [U.S.] should not go from dependence on oil from the Middle East for transportation, to dependence on China for electric vehicles and batteries.

In testimony to the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on May 14, 2019, Dr. John Warner, Chairman of the National Alliance for Advanced Technology Batteries, argued that the energy materials supply chain challenge in the North America has two components: “the market price problem and the geopolitical problem.” Warner described the market price problem, in which energy materials supply and energy materials demand differ wildly over short periods of time, as a product of the energy market’s inherent characteristics. However, he also added that this characteristic of the energy materials market has led Chinese companies, “acting almost certainly at the behest of the Chinese government,” to buy up energy materials supply sources around the world in order to ensure that Chinese battery manufacturers will have access to reasonably stable supplies of low-cost energy materials, benefitting Chinese businesses at the cost of other nations’ businesses. This, Warner argues, then poses a public policy problem for the U.S., forcing U.S. policymakers to decide what strategic industries the country will invest in to regain leadership in and dominance of the global energy materials supply market. It also creates what Warner characterizes as “the geopolitical problem” precipitated by the threat of disruptions to energy materials supplies by foreign actors: a risk that both China and the U.S. are acutely aware of.

The U.S.-China trade war is making America’s exposure to Chinese threats in this area known. As trade tensions have escalated, China-watchers have raised the possibility of China cutting of rare earth exports to the U.S. — a fear that was stoked by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s and his top trade negotiator’s visit to a rare earth mining and processing plant in China’s eastern Jiangxi province (the province is a key rare earths mining area).

However, Eugene Gholz, an advisor to the U.S. government on rare earths, argues that China’s leverage over the rare earths market doesn’t pose a serious threat. In an October 2014 report for the Council on Foreign Relations, he writes:

“[P]olicymakers should not succumb to pressure to act too quickly or too expansively in the face of raw materials threats. Not all such threats are like that posed by the historical precedent that is typically invoked: the 1973 oil crisis… Caution about overstating raw materials threats is particularly advisable because where foreign policy or intelligence analysts see a potential for dangerous market concentration and economic coercion, some businesses are also likely to see an opportunity to introduce competition and make a profit, ameliorating risks.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / JacobH)

AKA

American Mineral Security Act

Official Title

A bill to facilitate the availability, development, and environmentally responsible production of domestic resources to meet national material or critical mineral needs, and for other purposes.

    Yes, if possible. Rare earths are key to most modern electronic systems. If alternatives can be developed, it would certainly be beneficial on many levels. Our country fell asleep while China gobbled up the global mining rights to rare earths and now has almost complete control of the market.
    Like (50)
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    What they really mean is they want to get a green light to sell drilling, mining, and logging rights of national protected land to companies to get those products under ground. Even if it has a high chance or ruining waterways, tainting water sources, destroying preserved land, pushing some protected or beloved species toward or into extinction, destroying destinations of tourism, tainting air quality, ruining land by poisons of byproducts, and other such industry bad neighbor behavior done in the name of profits. Oil companies have been fussing for years over protections of the sage grouse because they want the products under it. So do other industry minded people who don’t give a damn about anything or anybody but their bottom line and profit margin. This is not about the American worker. Americans tend to require more money to work and ask such accommodations as worker safety protections that some other countries don’t have to deal with in such scale. This is just a cover to steal public recourses on protected public land for the industry. If the industry actually cared about the American worker then they would actually pay them a halfway decent wage that is not several degrees of power less then their CEOs.
    Like (32)
    Follow
    Share
    Steadily declining domestic production of rare minerals costs American jobs, undermines economic competitiveness, leaves the U.S. at a geopolitical disadvantage, and exposes a range of industries to the whims of the global critical minerals market. By supporting a domestic supply, this bill would help address this problem.
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    Abby nailed it. “What they really mean is they want to get a green light to sell drilling, mining, and logging rights of national protected land to companies to get those products under ground. Even if it has a high chance or ruining waterways, tainting water sources, destroying preserved land, pushing some protected or beloved species toward or into extinction, destroying destinations of tourism, tainting air quality, ruining land by poisons of byproducts, and other such industry bad neighbor behavior done in the name of profits. Oil companies have been fussing for years over protections of the sage grouse because they want the products under it. So do other industry minded people who don’t give a damn about anything or anybody but their bottom line and profit margin. This is not about the American worker. Americans tend to require more money to work and ask such accommodations as worker safety protections that some other countries don’t have to deal with in such scale. This is just a cover to steal public recourses on protected public land for the industry. If the industry actually cared about the American worker then they would actually pay them a halfway decent wage that is not several degrees of power less then their CEOs.” I would add that there was promising research being done on alternatives to Rare Earth Minerals, but the funding was cut by (guess who) Republicans.
    Like (24)
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    Bartering is equally as important as self-sufficiency. America should develop an extremely thought out and comprehensive plan to mine ethically, sustainably, trade, everything in moderation, and prosper.
    Like (17)
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    Please support Senate Bill S.1317 and any bill similar to this should it come to fruition in the House of Representatives. We as Americans utilize our domestic resources carefully and responsibly. We can become self-sustaining in rare earth minerals thus placing us in a better position economically, technologically, militarily and of course environmentally. By continuing to import the bulk of rare earth minerals utilized, we are contributing to the destruction of the global environment since nations such as China, India, Malaysia and Russia do not care how much damage is done when extracting them. Securing our own domestic sources is both the intelligent and environmentally responsible thing to do.
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    Too vague, shouldn’t allow a cart blanc rape with an executive order of lands that are protected.
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    How about we recycle as a matter of principle all those items that have them in them for starters! We are the third biggest producer of rare earth metals behind China and Australia. All that needs to be done is swinging mining to actually retrieve these. Surely some coal miners could be retrained and mines repurposed to add this resource as something to be retrieved. What I fear this is though is murkouski simply trying to open up more of the ANWR or other national parks and turn them into a hole in the ground for the benefit of mining corporations and CEOs with the appropriate enriching of representatives who allow it.
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    Fat cat oil tycoons are again trying to sneak in the back door and steal out future by manufacturing a controversy.
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    More of these minerals need to be recycled rather than mined which will only destroy the beauty of our public lands!
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    The US should have a back-up plan for anything it depends on from other countries.
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    How do you do this without destroying public lands?
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    Our reliance on other countries for rare earth minerals is hardly an urgent issue. We have lots of more critical things to work on.
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    An ever growing list of trumps accomplishments and of those in congress who support him: Most recent: #PussyAssBitch He’s doctoring weather maps to try and prove he’s not an idiot. Has stayed at trump properties 293 days in 3 years, that’s our tax dollars going directly into his pocket. Took money from military daycares to pay for a wall that won’t work and no one wants. The Vice President and the Attorney General are both spending tax payer dollars on trump hotels, lining his pockets and currying his favor. Privately instructed aides to skirt laws and regulations to get the wall built faster — and told them he will pardon them if necessary. Pressuring a government agency to give a contract for his wall to a company whose chief executive is a donor to one of his top GOP allies in Congress. Took hundreds of millions from 127 different projects (FEMA being one of those) for his wall. Thinks nuking a hurricane is an idea. Pushing to host the next G-7 at one of his own resorts. Taunted Iran by tweeting a classified image of an Iranian rocket that had exploded, thereby potentially compromising U.S. intelligence capabilities. His own company would save millions from the low interest rates he is demanding. Was going to give you tax cuts through your paychecks but decided not to. Destroying the economy with HIS trade war. We will soon average a 1.2 trillion deficit. He is repeating NRA talking points on background checks so expect no action taken regardless of the fact there has been 27 arrested over threats to commit mass attacks since El Paso( NOT TOLEDO). Made fun of republicans being afraid of the NRA and then caved after a 30 minute phone conversation with them. Bragged about indefinite child detention because it brings families together. Refusing flue shots, that protect us all(google influenza pandemic), to immigrant children. Attacking fellow congresswomen in really disgusting ways and making anti-Semitic remarks about Jews calling them disloyal. Thinks he’s the chosen one based on a conspiracy theory web sight. Impeachment: Obstruction of Justice. Profiting from the Presidency. Collusion - They had a meeting & lied about it. Advocating political & police violence. Abuse of power. Engaging in reckless behavior. Persecuting political opponents. Attacking the free press. Violating immigrants Right to Due Process. Violating campaign finance laws. Racist: Speaks directly to and often tweeting straight from white supremacists. Calls them very fine people. Told fellow congresswomen to go back where they came from. Called them shit hole countries. Called them murderers and rapists. Calls her Pocahontas. Took out full page adds calling for the death of five innocent black kids in New York, 1989. Literally has said in an interview he has Hitlers speeches, My New Order in his nightstand. Our Money: Spent campaign finance money on hush payments to silence a porn star he had an affair with in order to hide it from the voters. Has spent over $100 million of our tax dollars playing golf at his own golf courses. Has never divested from companies and advertises and profits off the White House. Was going to cut Medicaid and Medicare funding to pay for the tax cuts he gave to the rich. Is actively destroying farmers lives with his trade wars that we all know only hurts our pockets not Chinas. Has made the lives of every truck driver across America as well as our own, more dangerous by removing safety regulations that only benefits the pockets of the CEOs of those companies. Has removed any and all protections we had in place from work safety, environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and gives that power back to the CEOs, oil companies, men and old white men. Saudi funded lobbyist rented 500 rooms at a trump hotel he never divested from right after he became president. Wonder why? Sexual Predator: Accused by more than 20 women of molestation and rape. Bragged about said molestation on tape. Has cheated on all three wives (see above). Has made sexual remarks on camera about his daughter. Belittles and bully’s strong women. Not even sure he’s aware he has two daughters. Idiot: Has allowed North Korea to grow there nuclear weapons program. Took the side of Putin over America’s own security agencies on the national stage. Lacks the intelligence and facts needed to communicate on a global level much less national one. Makes policy decisions based on FOX media. Lies when speaks. Doesn’t believe in science and quite often displays his ignorance of it. Russia: Lied about meetings with Russians. Lied about a trump tower Moscow. Personal attorney Michael Cohen (same guy who broke campaign finance laws under trumps direction) had contacts with russian officials. National Security aide Flynn resigned over Russian contacts. Jeff Sessions recused himself because of Russian contacts. Manafort resigned because of Russian contacts. Campaign foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos met with Russians then bragged about it to Australians who then turned that info over to our FBI. Sixteen campaign officials had contacts with Russia and at least nine others new about it. Russian mobster lived in trump tower. trump casino was flagged 106 times for lax money laundering standards and same Russian frequently stayed at trump casino. Has been selling real estate to Russians for years. It really is surprising how many connections to Russians this man has. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Bill Posey You are my representatives. OLC policy: The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions. It’s time to do your job. You swore an oath to this country, it’s people and me to uphold the constitution. The president has never upheld that oath. How do you want to be remembered?
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    That and improve our foreign affairs (especially with our allies) by only voting for presidential candidates who are capable of carrying out the duties of the executive office (including what is outlined in our Constitution pertaining to foreign diplomacy). But, I guess that would also depend on the DNC and RNC to select/endorse presidential candidates capable of carrying out the duties of the executive branch as outlined by our Constitution. 🤔Since neither is possible any time soon, perhaps, what we need to address 1st is our continued dependence on foreign countries for our recycling, which (thanks to Trump) is currently being dumped in our overflowing landfills. And not in ANY legislation sponsored by Lisa Murkowski.
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    We should, but unfortunately China has it locked up.
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    Another Republican attempt to justify selling our pristine public lands to the highest bidder.
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    Red flag! Red flag! If it’s coming from Lies-a, it’s got to involve raping the land. She was bought and paid for by big oil and mining years ago. So was her Daddy. She’s had plenty of experience at smoke and mirrors. She can lie with the best of them! BEWARE! She is so full of crap, she hasn’t been able to see straight for a long time - yet to the Ignorants, she can do no wrong.
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    I strongly oppose HR 1317! Might as well call it the “The law that lets us rape the earth so we can have at the rare earth nuggets.” Once again the title is Orwellian. The bill is far from Comprehensive. It wants the ability to run over any and all health and environmental concerns. Any comprehensive plan for mining and production needs to include how that mining and production will impact the health and the environment of the impacted employees and communities. This bill is sorely lacking! Heres an idea: Instead let's roll back Trump’s poorly considered tariffs. (But put neccessary pressure on the other countries to do ethical mining and production.) Shame on Murkowski et al for putting their name to this clearly pro-corporate bill! Shame on Countable for using the deceptive title! I ask my representatives to Vote No.
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    We don’t have a choice unless we want to be held hostage to China who has been diligently buying mining rights to 96-97% of all rare earth metals.
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