Murkowski Welcomes Stronger Push on Mineral Security

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today issued the following statement on President Trump’s new executive order to improve our nation’s mineral security. The new order, issued on Wednesday evening, focuses on “addressing the threat to the domestic supply chain from reliance on critical minerals from foreign adversaries and supporting the domestic mining and processing industries.”

“The Trump administration has been a strong partner and continues to show real leadership in the effort to improve our nation’s mineral security,” Murkowski said. “This new executive order will result in new actions to rebuild supply chains and end our reliance on foreign nations for the minerals we could be producing here at home. I thank the administration for recognizing the importance of this issue and urge Congress to provide additional authorities through the passage of my American Mineral Security Act.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the United States imported at least 50 percent of its supply of 46 different nonfuel minerals in 2019, including 100 percent of 17 of them. China, in particular, has consolidated control over the supply chains of many of the minerals used to make medical equipment, smart phones, clean energy, and defense technologies.

This week’s executive order builds on an executive order issued by President Trump in 2017 and actions taken by various Departments and agencies since then. The new order will help focus agencies on finding solutions to supply chain challenges and should result in needed improvements in mapping, permitting, financing, and other areas. 

Murkowski has long been a champion of U.S. mineral security. Her bipartisan legislation, the American Mineral Security Act, would ensure timely surveying of domestic deposits of critical minerals, cut down on unnecessary permitting delays for projects to produce them, promote workforce development, and invest in research and development to increase recycling and the development of alternatives. The bill has been incorporated into the broader American Energy Innovation Act and two Republican coronavirus recovery packages.

Murkowski has also used her chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to focus congressional attention on mineral security. In June, she convened a hearing focused on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on supply chains and the fundamental role that minerals play in them. Last September, she convened a hearing focused on the mineral needs of clean energy technologies.

More information about the administration’s order is available here.

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