American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Rep. Coffman, Congress Launch Rare Earths Caucus

    On Wednesday, December 14, I attended the first-ever meeting of the Congressional Rare Earths Caucus. The brainchild of Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, a leader on the issue of rare earths and resource dependency, the new caucus will push for rare earths supply chain.  The U.S. Magnetic Materials Association’s Jeff Green conducted the briefing, focusing on the geo-politics of Rare Earths.

    One key takeaway from the event was Green’s treatment of supply chain issues as rare earths move from mining through refining to fabrication into the sub-components critical to green-tech, high-tech and defense-related applications. Failure of the U.S. to develop capabilities along this chain will certainly loop us back into the foreign dependency we face today.

    The Rare Earths Caucus, coupled with the inclusion of language in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, tasking the Department of Defense with conducting a rare earths inventory assessment, suggest that this suite of critical metals is coming in for increased Congressional concern. Whether U.S. policymakers are seeing the bigger picture – potentlal supply disrpution of a dozen or more other critical metals – remains to be seen.

  • Will the U.S. Congress take on resource development regulatory reform?

    Those of us who follow how public policy impacts private-sector efforts to develop domestic mineral resources need to tune in to the current Capitol Hill debate on jobs and economic growth.

    Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) recently introduced the Public Lands Job Creation Act, a bill that he says “will streamline the permitting process for energy development, including mineral and renewable energy development, while also preserving the time necessary for environmental analysis.” Reports also indicate that Heller intends to attach his legislation to a larger jobs package that could be voted on as early as today.

    At the heart of Heller’s language is a directive to speed up the mining permitting process in America. That legislative trigger would set a firm 45-day turnaround period for the U.S. Department of Interior (DoI) to complete its review process of any and all notices sent from state Bureau of Land Management offices.

    If enacted, this timely turnaround would certainly help American companies bring new mines into production, which is critical to our nation’s resource development.  According to the authoritative Behr Dolbeare annual report on mining countries, the U.S. ranks dead last in terms of the time to take to permit a new mine:  7 to 10 years on average.

    It is worth noting that this bill does not seek to shortcut environmental review or safety concerns connected to mining.  From what we can tell, it simply seeks to keep the review process moving forward in a timely manner – or in the United States’ case, moving forward at all.

    Whether or not Congress will perceive this sort of reform as key to job creation and economic growth is anything but clear; however, what is beyond dispute is that the U.S. must find ways to increase its responsible domestic resource development. We must decrease the needless dependency on foreign metals and minerals critical to our economy and national security.

  • Rep. Denham: “Exploring U.S. natural resources key to solving problems”

    In a passionate delivery on the House of Representatives floor, California Congressman Jeff Denham delivered a message about natural resources and American jobs. In his closing, Denham said, “We won’t solve CA’s energy problems or the nation’s job issue without addressing our natural resources.” Watch the short video below to hear his full plea to [...]
  • ARPN Expert Commentary: Congressional Action on REE Policy is Needed

    ARPN expert Lisa Reisman has a very insightful post on her website “MetalMinerTM” this week. Adding her own commentary, Reisman discusses rare earth and specialty metals lobbyist Jeff Green’s take on the current public policy debate regarding rare earth metals and critical minerals, as well as related legislation in pending in Congress.  Below is an [...]
  • U.S. House subcommittee focuses on America’s resource dependency

    On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, I testified on behalf of American Resources Policy Network before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which held a hearing on the issue of “domestic minerals supplies and demands in a time of foreign supply disruption.” (Read my testimony here and watch my remarks [...]
  • Is Alaska the key to solve U.S. Rare Earths crisis?

    Recent decisions by China, the world’s leading rare earths producer, to tighten export restrictions and raise taxes have set off a flurry of global activity as nations are looking for ways to respond to these new realities. In the United States, policy initiatives aimed at securing an ongoing supply of these mineral materials are being [...]
  • Dear Congress: Metals and minerals matter now

    It is easy to pity the U.S. policymaker, who has more than a few crises to cope with, but America can no longer afford to push aside the critical issue of metals and minerals.  Decisions made now — or inaction, which is a decision in itself — will shape our economic competitiveness and national security [...]