National Strategic and Critical Mineral Production Act of 2012 (H.R. 4402)
Status: Passed the House on July 12, 2012 with a bipartisan vote of 256 to 160. Awaits consideration by the Senate.
May 15, 2012
- The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Protection Act of 2012 would allow the U.S. to more efficiently develop our Nation's strategic and critical minerals, such as rare earth elements, that are vital to job creation, American economic competitiveness and national security.
- The bill streamlines the permitting process for mineral development by coordinating the actions of federal, state, local and Tribal agencies.
- Minerals and mined materials are the raw ingredients needed in high-tech manufacturing, renewable energy products and to support our Nation’s energy infrastructure. Critical and strategic minerals are fundamental components of technologies and everyday items ranging from cell phones, computers, solar panels, wind turbines, building materials and motor vehicles to personal hygiene products and office supplies.
- Currently, the United States is 100 percent reliant on foreign countries such as China for certain critical and strategic minerals. Similar to the United States’ dependence on foreign energy, America’s reliance on foreign critical and strategic minerals weakens our national security and sends billions of dollars and good-paying jobs overseas.
- Specifically, H.R. 4402:
- Requires the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to more efficiently develop domestic sources of strategic and critical minerals and mineral materials; including rare earth elements.
- Defines strategic and critical minerals as those that are necessary:
(a) For national defense and national security requirements;
(b) For the Nation’s energy infrastructure including pipelines, refining capacity, electrical power generation and transmission, and renewable energy production;
(c) To support domestic manufacturing, agriculture, housing, telecommunications, healthcare and transportation infrastructure; and
(d) For the Nation’s economic security and balance of trade.
- Facilitates timely permitting process for mineral exploration and mine development projects by clearly defining the responsibilities of a lead agency.
- Currently, it can take up to 10 years or longer for agencies to issue permits to allow mineral mining work to begin; the bill will limit the total review process for issuing permits to 30 months unless signatories to the permitting timeline agree to an extension.
- Ensures American mineral mining projects are not indefinitely delayed by frivolous lawsuits by setting reasonable time limits for litigation. Sets a 60 day time limit to file a legal challenge to a mining project, limits injunctive relief to what is necessary to correct the violation of a legal requirement, and prohibits the payment of attorney’s fees, expenses and other costs by the U.S. taxpayer.
Chairman Hastings’ Floor Statement on Bill to Cut Red-tape to Develop Rare Earth & Critical Minerals in U.S., House Floor Statement (7/12/2012)