National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 22, 2015
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BENISHEK. Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1937,
the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act.

Over the past several decades, our Nation has lagged far behind much
of the world in the development and extraction of domestic mineral
resources. Falling behind on this front has made our Nation dependent
on foreign sources of many vital mineral resources that our economy and
national defense need to continue functioning.

Falling behind has also led to the loss of good-paying jobs
throughout the country. We have seen this in my district in northern
Michigan in the mines that have shut down and the mines that have not
been permitted. There is a mine in the western part of my district that
has been over 10 years in the permitting process and is still not near
open. These jobs are critically needed in my district.

The mines of the U.P. have served our country in times of need,
providing many of the raw minerals that we have needed for national
defense. If the resources that we have beneath our feet were needed
today, these mines would have to go through a significant permitting
process that would likely take almost 20 years.

While I support making sure that we behave in an environmentally
responsible manner, it is ridiculous that overly burdensome Federal
regulations are keeping us from being competitive in the world economy.
This bill will cut through some of the bureaucratic red tape that is
holding our economy back, leading to a nation that is less dependent on
foreign resources for vital natural resources and creating jobs.

I urge all my colleagues to support the responsible development of
our domestic natural resources and to vote in favor of this commonsense
and long-overdue legislation.