Murkowski Calls for Action on Critical Minerals Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – What do 450,000 scientists plus thousands of miners and manufacturers have in common? They all want the “Critical Minerals Policy Act” (S.1113) enacted. Today, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, again called for a markup of the “Critical Minerals Policy Act” after receiving a letter from a broad coalition of stakeholders supporting of the legislation.

“Critical minerals make it possible for us to innovate and invent – and in the process they shape our daily lives, our standard of living, and our ability to prosper,” Murkowski said. “Fortunately, almost a quarter of my Senate colleagues understand this and have supported legislation to address the issue.”

“Unfortunately, all of those efforts have fallen victim to our lack of action in the Senate this Congress, where not one bill on this topic has been reported from a Senate committee – even when the votes are likely there to do so. My legislation, the ‘Critical Minerals Policy Act,’ is no exception,” Murkowski said. “It’s my hope that the support of this broad coalition – representing nearly half a million scientists along with thousands of job creators in the minerals and manufacturing sectors – will help motivate the Senate to act on this important issue.”

The bill, which has 19 bipartisan cosponsors, would provide programmatic direction to help keep the U.S. competitive and ensure that federal mineral policies – some of which have not been updated since the 1980s – are brought into the 21st century.  It also focuses on the broader supply chain for critical minerals. From resource assessments to recycling and alternatives, it takes a holistic approach to ensure the development of strong national mineral policies.

The coalition has urged the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to hold a markup on the bill and advance the bipartisan legislation to the floor. S. 1113 was first introduced on May 26, 2011, and a legislative hearing was held on June 9, 2011. A substitute, compromise amendment to S. 1113 was released on May 10, 2012 after an agreement was reached with Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bingaman, but a markup has not yet been scheduled.

Since the introduction of the bill, the committee has held several markups and moved 38 bills out of committee.

The letter is attached.