Will Obama Continue to Outsource Mineral Mining Jobs to China?

President Obama and his minions have been doing everything they can to thwart the mining of rare earth minerals here in the United States. Yesterday, the House passed the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act which would speed up permitting for mineral mining in states like Nevada, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The last time I checked, those are pretty crucial states in the upcoming election. Apparently, President Obama isn’t concerned about job creation in those states, because he is vehemently opposed to this bill. It looks like he would prefer to outsource all of those high-paying jobs to China.

After the bill passed the House, the Natural Resources Committee released the following statement:

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2012 - The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, sponsored by Rep. Mark Amodei (NV-02), by a bipartisan vote of 256-160. The bill would streamline government red tape to allow the U.S. to more efficiently develop our Nation’s strategic and critical minerals, such as rare earth elements, that are vital to job creation, American economic competitiveness and national security.

“President Obama has been giving a lot of speeches claiming support for ‘insourcing jobs’ to the United States from foreign nations. Currently, our nation is dependent on foreign nations, such as China and India, for critical minerals that American manufacturers and our economy depend on. This bill will help reverse this dependency and insource these good-paying mining jobs to here in the United States. And yet, the official position of the Obama Administration is that they “strongly oppose” this jobs bill,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). “Not only will this bill help create mining jobs in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and many other states. It will also help produce the critical minerals that American manufacturers need and that millions of jobs depend on in states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. President Obama can give speech after speech claiming support for insourcing jobs, but when he could take action to make that happen, the Obama Administration instead sides with protecting government bureaucracy and red-tape over job creation.”

“In the 2012 ranking of countries for mining investment, the United States ranked last in permitting delays. Duplicative regulations, bureaucratic inefficiency, and lack of coordination between federal agencies are threatening the economic recovery of my home state and jeopardizing our national security. Nevada, which is rich in strategic and critical minerals, also has the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Decade-long permitting delays are standing in the way of high-paying jobs and revenue for local communities,” said Rep. Amodei“This bill would simply bring some predictability and transparency to the permitting process to leverage our nation’s vast mineral resources, while paying due respect to economic and environmental concerns. The 11-page bill would not change any environmental regulations, protections, or opportunity for public input. It would merely ask federal land managers to collaborate with all stakeholders in an effort to move the process along in two and a half years as opposed to more than 10.”

The United States’ reliance on foreign minerals has significantly increased over the last 25 years and today we are 100 percent reliant on foreign sources for rare earth minerals. This dependence is sending American jobs overseas, harming our economy and jeopardizing our national security. Without critical mineral ingredients, entire sectors of our economy—as from manufacturing to high-tech to national defense to medical care—are put at risk.

The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act will allow timely and environmentally responsible development of our Nation’s vast supplies of strategic and critical minerals to create good-paying mining jobs, boost local economies, and provide security to America’s economy.

If enacted, the bill would not reduce environmental regulations, it would only make it easier for developers to get to work creating jobs and producing these vital resources. The National Mining Association celebrated the vote and encouraged continued support for this bill in a statement released yesterday.

“The ‘National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act’ approved today by a bi-partisan vote in the House would establish a 21st Century permitting system for U.S. mining and prepare us for the 21st Century challenges of minerals supply chain reliability and security.

“While few countries can rival the U.S. when it comes to an abundance of mineral resources, we remain cursed with a third-world permitting system that discourages investment and the downstream industries, related jobs, innovation and technology that depend on a secure and reliable mineral supply chain.

“Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and his colleagues have carefully and credibly addressed the pitfalls of our current outdated and underperforming permitting system by providing efficient, timely and thorough permit reviews and by incorporating best practices for coordination among state and federal agencies, clarifying responsibilities, avoiding duplication, setting timeframes and bringing more accountability to the process. These are all steps other resource-rich countries such as Australia and Canada have already taken and are consistent with President Obama’s executive order to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects—all of which rely upon a ready supply of the very materials H.R. 4402 addresses.

“Our dependence on mineral imports has doubled over the past 20 years. Today, less than half of the mineral needs of U.S. manufacturing are met from domestically mined minerals. These trends will only get worse if we do not advance policies that enable U.S. mining to perform to its potential.

“Other countries have clearly demonstrated the willingness and urgency to act to meet the challenges of a new global reality in which demand for mineral resources will soar while supplies become increasingly difficult to obtain. We must do so as well, otherwise we place our long term economic growth and security at risk. NMA urges continued support for this important and far-sighted legislation.”

Now it’s time for the Senate to act. I’ve heard that the bill has a good chance of passing in the Senate, but we have to wait for fickle Harry Reid.

Now, if Harry Reid can take time out of his busy schedule blocking votes on his own president’s tax hikes for the rich and talking about burning Chinese-made uniforms for American Olympians, maybe we can get legislation passed to put Nevadans to work.

We’re talking about real jobs, that would produce a vital resource and make us less dependent on China. You’d think Reid could take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to bring this bill to the Senate for a vote. But even then, expect Obama to do like he did when the Keystone XL pipeline was up for a vote and take a little time from campaigning and fundraising to lobby Senators to vote against it. It’s another instance where the president is against truly “shovel ready” jobs that don’t require massive infusions of taxpayer dollars. And just think, something like this might actually reduce the number of people receiving food stamps. We can’t have that, now, can we?