2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 124-5
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM-3:05 PM

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: SHAPING FEDERAL POLICIES ON CRITICAL MINERALS AND MATERIALS

ANDERSON, Allyson, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, United States Senate, 304 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, Allyson_anderson@energy.senate.gov

Following the supply disruption of rare earth elements from China to Japan in the spring of 2010, considerable attention has been paid to the topic of mineral criticality, particularly with respect to rare earth elements. This topic has since been extensively explored by Congressional committees in the House and Senate, resulting in a proliferation of legislation of many varieties related to mineral criticality, mining, and broader supply chain issues for manufacturing and reuse of critical materials—particularly in the energy sector.

As the subject has been undertaken by Congress, the overall tone has shifted from one of international trade security and geopolitical concerns to encouragement of domestic mining and reestablishment of the domestic supply for many energy critical materials that have been identified by the National Academy of Science. The debate has originated primarily in committees and has focused policy-making, however some stakeholders have embraced the Congressional interest in the topic and have moved to politically focused on issues such as the fast-tracking of permits and approvals for opening or reopening mines. As a result, legislation has become more comprehensive in its scope, but also more controversial which may lead to a slow down in the legislative process.

It is important that all policy makers consider the full scope of the issues around rare earth elements and other critical materials while addressing the most pressing geopolitical supply issues that are central to the supply and sustainability problem. Finally, they must provide a secure framework for the use of these materials in the manufacturing and end-use sectors going forward.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 124
Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals for a Sustainable and Secure Future
Minneapolis Convention Center: Room 101A-C
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 317

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