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Lankford Wants US to Take Action to Stop Energy Dependence on China

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing to examine and consider updates to the Mining Law of 1872. Lankford’s questions focused on the ways Biden’s policies on US domestic mineral development as well as ways the long US permitting process for mines, which can take up to 10 years, is deterring US investment in rare earth and critical minerals and encouraging dependence on China.

To help address these misguided policies and instead encourage US investment in US minerals, Lankford introduced a bill to improve the quality and timeliness of federal permitting and review processes with respect to critical mineral production on federal land and bring the mineral supply chain back to the US. Lankford continues to raise the issue of extremely slow federal permitting processes across in the US. Lankford highlighted that one power transmission line has taken 14 years to permit.

Lankford also continues to highlight Biden’s attempts to “cancel” US energy and innovation under the same “climate-change prevention” banner that influences US mineral cultivation. Lankford has highlighted on the Senate floor the ways the Democrats’ new tax-and-spend spree hurts the US energy industry and US innovation.

Today’s panel consisted of Mr. Chris Wood, the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited; Ms. Katie Sweeney the executive vice president and general counsel of the National Mining Association; Ms. Autumn Hanna, the vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense; Mr. Rich Haddock, the general counsel for Barrick Gold Corporation; and Mr. David Brown the president & CEO for Wyo-Ben, Inc..

Excerpts

On the obstacles to US mineral development to avoid reliance on China

Lankford: When we talk about the United States and our own mineral development here, and we look at other countries, whether it be in Asian or in Africa or in South America and other places, is there anything distinctly different about our geology that we shouldn’t be able to go after some of the minerals that are here? In other words, we know there’s the presence of some of the minerals here, but is there something unique about our geology that would say China has that mineral—we have that mineral—but really China should develop that mineral, not us. Or South America has that mineral—we have it—or Australia has it and we have it. I know geology is different. It’s not always the same depth. It’s not always the same economical use, but is there something about our geology that we would say, if the minerals here and there, we should just get it there instead of here?

Haddock: …The United States is a vast land that is blessed with a great mineral endowment. And because of that, I think it’s important for us to continue to explore for every kind of mineral. And the one thing I can tell you in our industry is the technology is always advancing and the ability to find things that are covered and find mineral deposits that we couldn’t have found before is always evolving.

On the US mine permitting process taking four times longer than similar nations and deterring investment

Lankford: Ms. Sweeney, in your testimony you mentioned that permitting for a mine can take seven to 10 years, am I reading that correctly?

Sweeney: If you’re lucky, if it’s a major, major mine, yes.

Lankford: So here’s what interesting. Obviously if you go to Canada, or if you go to multiple other countries, Australia, it doesn’t take seven to 10 years to do the permitting on that. What does it take in other places?

Sweeney: Two to three years in countries with very similar environmental standards and environmental processes…

Lankford: So this is the interesting thing, when I’ve talked to several different folks that are going after rare earth minerals in different parts of the country, they will say, ‘Yes, I know where they are. Yes, I know the permitting process, but the unpredictable wildcard about this are the lawsuits that can come in, that they just trickle in one after another after another after another that even after I have the permit or I’m nearing the permit closure, it is still unpredictable.’ So their statement is, ‘I’m not going to invest millions of dollars in capital to go do all that has to be done to have it drug out 20 years and my capital dry up and a whole series of lawsuits on it. Is that right or wrong? How common is that?

Sweeney: It’s fairly common unfortunately…

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