Murkowski Welcomes Secretary Zinke's Order to Strengthen American Mineral Security

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today expressed strong support for a new Secretarial Order signed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to curb the nation’s growing dependence on foreign sources of minerals. Murkowski attended the signing ceremony at the Department of the Interior. 

“Our nation’s growing dependence on foreign minerals is a distinct threat to our economy, our national defense, and our international competitiveness,” Murkowski said. “We need to improve all aspects of the supply chain – from geologic surveying to permitting reform – so that our nation produces more of the minerals that are fundamental to energy, health care, manufacturing, and other technologies. I welcome Secretary Zinke’s determination to strengthen our nation’s mineral security, and will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure we complement these efforts with legislative action.”

The Secretarial Order directs the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to identify which minerals are critical to national defense and the economy; to create a plan to conduct a comprehensive geological survey of the United States; and to ensure that the geologic data in the maps is publically available.

Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the Departments of the Interior, Energy, and Commerce to develop a strategy to reduce our import reliance for strategic materials, including recommendations for technology, permitting and geologic mapping improvements that will boost mining and manufacturing of minerals domestically. This action follows a report that was released by the USGS – Professional Paper 1802 - which updates analyses of 23 different minerals that are critical to national and economic security.

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and has been a strong proponent of strengthening U.S. mineral security. She has held several hearings on the issue, introduced standalone legislation during previous Congresses, and included a section in her bipartisan energy and natural resources bill that would address all aspects of the supply chain to increase U.S. critical mineral production. More information about the new Secretarial Order is available here.