By Rep. Mike Gallagher , Rep. Pete Stauber | Fox News | Published March 29, 2023 4:00am EDT
Read more at https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/bidens-climate-agenda-dangerously-dependent-china
If we’ve learned anything from all the various impacts that COVID-19 brought to our shores, it’s that America must secure our critical supply chains. Instead, we continue to be reliant on hostile nations, and especially our biggest adversary, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Perhaps most disturbing is our self-imposed continued reliance on Chinese minerals needed for infrastructure, national security, and everyday life.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration, as part of their war on American energy, has moved to limit domestic mining and increase our reliance on the CCP for critical minerals.
This same administration is forcing a radical energy transition which will both increase the demand for minerals, making the United States even more reliant on the CCP, and increase the threat to our energy and national security. However, our House Republican majority’s top priority is to pass meaningful permitting reform to secure our domestic critical mineral supply chains and regain our energy dominance.
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Minerals such as copper, nickel and cobalt are used in everyday life by Americans and are key components for our defense and energy industries. Cobalt, for example, is used in batteries for smartphones and electric vehicles. Other minerals are used in fighter jets, weapons, and other instruments vital for our national defense.
The Chinese Communist Party controls the minerals market needed for American fighter jets, lifesaving medical devices and for so many items we use daily to live and work. What happens when our biggest foreign adversary turns that faucet off?
Critical minerals power wind turbines, electric vehicles, and solar panels, all three of which are cornerstones of Biden’s contradictory energy policy. Global demand for critical minerals is skyrocketing, including cobalt demand which is expected to double this decade and increase nearly 500% by 2050.
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Americans want to use our own, vast domestic reserves to secure our mineral future. In northern Minnesota alone, we are blessed with 95% of America’s nickel, nearly 90% of our cobalt, 51% of our platinum, and more than a third of our copper. However, President Biden and his cabinet have chosen politics over production, and continue to stymie domestic mineral development, and therefore our national security.
The list of anti-domestic mining actions taken by this administration is long. From Arizona and Alaska to Minnesota and South Dakota, the Biden administration is siding with radical activists to slow and kill domestic mining projects, keeping our much-needed resources in the ground.
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Perhaps most egregious is the Biden administration making a purely political decision to cancel two long-held mineral leases and declare a moratorium on mining in part of the Duluth Complex in northern Minnesota. Furthermore, another project in northern Minnesota, is currently stuck in over 20 years of permitting due to activist politicians and frivolous lawsuits.
It should be alarming that the CCP controls the global supply chain for the development, processing, and manufacturing of minerals. Specifically, the Democratic Republic of the Congo currently supplies around 70% of the global cobalt supply, and China controls 15 of the 19 industrial mines in the country.
Further, conditions at these mines are abysmal, immoral, and inhumane as environmental standards lack enforcement and child labor remains rampant. Overall, the United States is over 50% reliant on foreign sources for 51 nonfuel mineral commodities, with 26 of these coming from China and 6 from Russia.
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And, despite the clear, documented evidence of child forced slave labor, the Biden administration elected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Congo that will further expand our reliance on Chinese-derived cobalt. This administration has chosen to prioritize supply chains in the Congo, while working to curb domestic mining at every turn here in America. It is insulting to every hardworking American out there.
Consider this: the CCP controls the minerals market needed for American fighter jets, lifesaving medical devices and for so many items we use daily to live and work. What happens when our biggest foreign adversary turns that faucet off?
Instead, we need a smart, pro-development domestic energy policy to access the minerals we currently have underfoot for those needs.
We have an abundance of mineral reserves that we can tap into which can create American jobs, increase American competitiveness, end our mineral reliance on Communist China, and produce resources using American technology under strict labor and environmental standards.
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The good news is Republicans have a solution. H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act, provides a wholesale update to our broken permitting process, including domestic mining. By creating certainty with provisions like implementing review timelines and limiting frivolous lawsuits, this legislation will remove barriers to get shovels in the ground, invest in American energy technology, and shore up our supply chains to strengthen our energy and national security.
The United States has the best workforce, the best technology, and the best environmental and labor standards in the world. Let’s get politics out of the way, pass H.R. 1, start domestic mining, and unleash the full potential of American resources. Only then can we hold the CCP accountable and secure our future.
Republican Pete Stauber represents Minnesota in the United States House of Representatives where he serves as chairman of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.
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