Traditionally, the New Year is the time when people reflect on the past twelve months and formulate resolutions for the months ahead. As the first hours of 2013 have been dominated by the drama the Fiscal Cliff, our Federal lawmakers may not have gotten around to focusing on other less publicized — but no less pressing — issues, we at the American Resources Policy Network have put together a few New Year’s Resolutions for U.S. policymakers as they relate to critical and strategic metals and minerals.
2012 provided a year of opportunity for Congress to enact legislation to better harness the United States’ mineral potential, but in spite of thoughtful bills put forward by a group of lawmakers who are critically aware of our mineral needs and challenges ahead — and a better-sensitized public (at least with regard to the much-publicized challenges regarding Rare Earths) – on the federal level at least, the year has to be written off as a missed opportunity.
While the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Critical and Strategic Minerals Production Act (H.R. 4402) sponsored by Rep. Marc Amodei (R, NV-2) in the summer, the Senate failed to take up the bill. It remains to be seen what U.S. inaction on the mineral policy front does to our ranking in the forthcoming and instructive Behre Dolbear “Where Not to Invest” report. Being tied with Papua New Guinea for last place in terms of the mine permitting process, there’s little room for the U.S. to get worse, but 2012 did nothing to make things better.
On the state level, however, there is a shining example of what can be done to improve the strategic and critical mineral policy framework, and it hails from the State of Alaska. Alaska’s Parnell Administration understands the stakes of mineral resource policy, and has taken the lead in not only formulating a critical minerals strategy, but also implementing it in 2012.
As lawmakers shift focus on the other non-fiscal cliffs ahead, ARPN has assembled a list of resolutions for the coming year. Check back tomorrow to see what they are!