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Press Release

Westerman, Gosar Demand Answers on How New National Monument Will Impact American Energy Security

  • OI Subcommittee

Today, U.S. President Joe Biden announced he will use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate approximately 1 million acres as a national monument in Arizona. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to administration officials in response, seeking additional documentation on the decision and how it will impact land management and energy resources. In part, the members wrote:

"The [Grand Canyon] National Monument and the corresponding mineral withdrawal comes at an inflection point for our country in an age of geopolitical uncertainty—the federal government must decide whether to increase domestic mining and secure our mineral supply chain or serve at the mercy of foreign adversaries for decades to come. Sadly, Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration have apparently chosen the latter as the [Grand Canyon] National Monument and the corresponding mineral withdrawal threatens America’s long-term energy, economic, and national security.

"Nuclear power contributes nearly 20 percent of the electricity generated in America. Moreover, nuclear power is the largest 'zero-emission' energy source in the United States and accounts for more energy production than wind, solar, and hydropower combined. The former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and President Biden’s first White House national climate advisor, Gina McCarthy, stated that nuclear energy is 'absolutely essential' for meeting President Biden’s emissions goals. 

"Uranium is a metal integral to making fuel for nuclear energy reactors. Uranium occurs naturally in low concentrations in soil, rock and water. Despite the integral role nuclear energy and uranium play in powering our country, the United States is currently reliant on foreign imports to meet our uranium needs. Indeed, in 2021, the United States was required to import 95 percent of the uranium used by nuclear power plants. Of that, nearly 50 percent of the uranium came from either Russia or Kazakhstan, a landlocked former Soviet state that is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the southeast. Despite the war in Ukraine and ongoing sanctions against Russia, the United States continues to send $1 billion a year to Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency for enriched uranium. America’s reliance on foreign imports leaves current and future nuclear plans in the United States vulnerable to disruption, especially from Russia, 'which often yields energy as a geopolitical tool.'

"The Committee is deeply concerned that the [Grand Canyon] National Monument and corresponding uranium withdrawal increases America’s reliance on foreign adversaries for minerals, threatening America’s energy, economic, and national security for generations to come."

Read the full letter here.