But if successful, these actions would only be a short-term fix for a long-term problem. Our nation’s reliance on imports for critical minerals leaves us vulnerable to the posturing of any country — not just China — that has established mineral procurement as a policy goal. And if the WTO case is successful, we’ll be right back where we started: dependent on a foreign producer, supporting foreign mining jobs.
If giving a leg up to U.S. industry is truly a White House priority, the administration would support policies that lead to increased domestic mining.
The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act seeks to lend a hand to struggling manufacturers by enabling the United States to compete for international mining dollars. Not only will countless downstream sectors benefit from better access to raw materials, but increased mine activity will add to the more than 1.1 million high-paying jobs U.S. mining already supports — jobs that have for too long been going overseas.
To realize the full potential of minerals mining and support growth in industries across the economy, it is essential that unnecessary barriers to permitting are removed. Our nation needs a 21st-century permitting system to address 21st-century challenges. Through legislation such as the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, the United States can create a welcoming business environment that will attract investment, strengthen domestic manufacturing and drive our economy forward.
Hal Quinn is president and CEO of the National Mining Association.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.