Skip to Content

Press Release

Democrats Vote to Promote Forced Child Labor, Deny U.S. Mineral Independence

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2020 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)

Yesterday, Committee Democrats opposed common-sense amendments from Committee Republicans during consideration of legislation that would limit domestic energy and mineral production. H.R. 5598 withdraws 234,000 acres in Northern Minnesota from mineral development, permanently blocking access to one of the richest critical mineral reserves in North America. An amendment from Rep. Stauber (R-Minn.), whose District is impacted by this bill, delays the mineral withdrawal until and unless Federal agencies determine that any cobalt resources made off-limits by this bill won’t be replaced by cobalt mined from child labor. Unfortunately, the majority of the world’s cobalt supply is currently produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country notorious for using child labor in its mines. Cobalt, copper, and nickel – all minerals present in the mineral deposit that H.R. 5598 would withdrawal from development – are used in renewable energy technologies, including electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage. To that end,  Rep. Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced an amendment to this bill to exempt renewable energy minerals from the effects of the withdrawal, ensuring continued access to necessary materials needed to continue to develop renewable energy resources in the United States, according to our nation’s standards for environmental and labor laws.

Rep. Gosar also proposed an amendment to the Restoring Community Input and Public Protections in Oil and Gas Leasing Act (H.R. 3225) that would prevent the Secretary of the Interior from imposing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing within any State without approval from the Governor. Democrats continue to state their opposition to hydraulic fracturing and their intention to prohibit the practice altogether, which would eliminate thousands of good paying jobs. 

Democrats voted to oppose all of these amendments, choosing instead to hinder our domestic energy production and ignore the realities of child labor practices abroad. Yesterday, Committee Republicans stood up for responsible domestic mining to develop the building blocks of renewable energy right here at home, and for access to affordable energy for American households across the country. 

Read Rep. Stauber’s amendment HERE

Read Rep. Gosar’s amendment regarding renewables and electric vehicles HERE.

Read Rep. Gosar’s amendment regarding hydraulic fracturing HERE.