Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey (D) had a piece up on The Hill’s Congress Blog last week which highlighted China’s near-total rare earths supply monopoly and resulting challenges for our domestic industries. Among other things, it also called for increased domestic rare earths production. Writes Casey:
While I hope to see quick action from China, we can’t afford to wait. Spurring domestic production can decrease our reliance on China, enhance our national security, and potentially increase American exports. I am encouraged by recent stories indicating interest in reopening a long-shuttered California mine. A domestic source of rare earth elements could ensure that these vital resources serve the domestic market.
With Congress mired in gridlock on many issues and partisan politics being kicked up a notch in this election year, it is encouraging to see that awareness of our rare earths (and other critical mineral)-related challenges is increasing on Capitol Hill, and that more Members of Congress from both sides of the political aisle are placing an emphasis on the need to step up domestic production of the critical metals and minerals we’re fortunate to have beneath our own soil.