EMA Applauds Congressional Western Caucus for Legislation to Protect American Mining

Arlington, Va., Dec. 20, 2023 – The Essential Minerals Association applauds Western Caucus Vice Chair Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), and Rep. Blake Moore (UT-01) for introducing legislation to rescind the Biden Administration’s proposed changes to the FAST-41 process for mining projects, which would limit eligible projects to only those that meet the Critical Mineral definition from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

“The Administration’s proposed rule narrowing mining to only critical minerals is a solution in search of a problem as the Administration cannot identify any shortcoming or negative effects of the current rule’s definition of eligible mining projects,” said Chris Greissing, EMA president. “EMA supports increased domestic development of critical mineral resources, but it is shortsighted of the administration to leave out many minerals that are essential to our economy, such as the green energy transition, but are currently not listed as critical minerals. We thank the members of the Congressional Western Caucus for their continued support of this vital industry.”

The proposed legislation prohibits the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing the proposed rule that was published in September.

The critical minerals definition being used by USGS does not include dozens of minerals that are absolutely essential to our everyday economy. Without adequate supplies of minerals not on the USGS’ critical minerals list, the United States will not succeed in reaching the Biden Administration’s goals for renewable energy or electrification. It does not make sense to deny these important resources the opportunity for the streamlined FAST-41 permitting process. The United States needs to use every tool at its disposal to allow more domestic mineral production to achieve those green energy goals rather than policies that limit that achievement.

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act was enacted on December 4, 2015. Title 41 of the act (FAST-41) established new coordination and oversight procedures for infrastructure projects being reviewed by federal agencies. The mining sector was added under FAST-41 in 2021, and projects must work through 18 points of criteria in order to be expedited. The law was intended to improve coordination among government agencies, increase transparency for federal and environmental reviews, and increase accountability. Unfortunately, communication appears to have become worse internally within the Administration as this process has moved forward.

“The Biden Administration is in desperate need of better internal communication as it will be impossible for them to reach their admirable goals for renewable energy or electrification without including minerals that are not considered as critical by the narrow definition of the USGS,” Greissing added. “The United States must prioritize increased domestic production of all minerals. Existing rules make it difficult to speed up the extraction of essential minerals, which will hinder the U.S. economy and cause an increased reliance on foreign adversaries for our mineral needs. Commonsense shows that we need FAST-41 to be a streamlined process for all domestic mineral resources.”

The Essential Minerals Association (EMA) is the representative voice for companies that extract and process a vital and beneficial group of raw materials and minerals, which are the essential ingredients for many of the products used in everyday life. Formerly, the Industrial Minerals Association – North America, EMA ensures that the voices of its member companies and the socio-economic benefits they provide – from mining to end-use products – are heard by government leaders as well as the general public. Visit essentialminerals.org to learn more.