July 9, 2014
Coalition Letter will help Advance Bipartisan Efforts
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed additional and renewed support for the passage of critical minerals legislation, after a diverse coalition of groups and organizations sent a letter to top congressional leaders describing this as an “opportune moment” to improve the nation’s mineral supply chain.
“This letter puts nearly 40 groups and organizations on record as supporting not just their members, but our nation’s security, competitiveness, and future growth,” Murkowski said. “I thank them for their support and commend their continued engagement on this issue. I also agree with them. This is the perfect time to update our nation’s mineral policies. We have bipartisan and cost-neutral legislation that is ready to be considered. We have no reason to wait, or to forgo the tremendous benefits that critical minerals legislation would provide throughout our economy."
Led by Minerals Make Life, an initiative of the National Mining Association, the new letter of support was signed by a coalition representing “nearly every sector of the American economy, including defense, energy, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, technology, academia, electronics, finance, and medicine.” In addition to urging congressional action, the coalition wrote that, “Greater domestic production of critical minerals can bolster our national and economic security, and create jobs. A more robust supply of these raw materials would make the United States – already an attractive market for business – an even more advantageous place for investment going forward.”
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission also sent a separate letter to congressional leaders in support of Senate and House critical minerals legislation last week.
Murkowski is the primary author of critical minerals legislation in the Senate. Her bipartisan bill, the Critical Minerals Policy Act (S. 1600), would address the entire supply chain by establishing a criticality index, reforming the broken federal permitting process, prioritizing workforce development, and promoting alternatives and recycling. Some 18 senators – 10 Democrats and eight Republicans – are cosponsors. At a legislative hearing in January 2014, the bill drew enthusiastic support from a slate of mining, manufacturing, academic, state, and federal witnesses.
Next steps on critical minerals legislation will need to come in the Senate, as the House of Representatives already passed a bill on this subject. Sponsored by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV-2), the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R. 761) passed the House nearly one year ago through a bipartisan vote of 246-178.
Murkowski is the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The coalition letter and the IMCC letter can be found on the energy panel's website.