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On Thursday, House Republican leaders are set to introduce permit reform legislation aimed at strengthening the domestic supply chain for critical minerals and boosting energy independence.

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The U.S. Mineral Supply Chain Security Act, initiated by senior House Natural Resources Committee member Bruce Westerman of Arkansas, will streamline the process for issuing permits and approving hard rock projects across the country. Minerals such as lithium, cobalt, copper and nickel are vital for both clean energy and defense technology, but are mostly mined and processed abroad.

“We’ve been lucky with these deposits here in the US and we just don’t develop them,” Westerman said in an interview with FOX Business. “It’s one thing if we didn’t have these mineral deposits here in the US and we had to buy them from people like China, but the point is, we have what we need here.”

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“This ‘not in my backyard’ ideology that the left seems to be promoting is something we need to change,” he continued. “We cannot continue to export our wealth to China and Russia.”

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The Westerman bill, co-sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee member Kathy McMorris Rogers of Washington State, would appoint a single federal agency to coordinate the issuance of mining permits, set approval deadlines, prohibit the repeal of existing mining permits, and promote new ones. research to boost domestic production and order the Department of Energy to create a strategic uranium stockpile that would reduce reliance on Russia for the element.

The legislation is generally aimed at reducing uncertainty for companies and investors involved in mining projects.

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“You have a mining job as well as further processing,” Westerman said. “The bill removes barriers that prohibit work in both of these areas.”

“We are already mining better than anywhere else in the world, but we want to stay at the forefront and improve these mining and processing methods.”

Yet China extracts about 55% of the world’s mineral resources and recycles a whopping 85%, according to last year’s White House supply chain report. In comparison, last year the US produced just 6% of the world’s copper, 5.7% of the world’s zinc, 0.67% of the world’s nickel, 0.4% of the world’s cobalt and 0% of the world’s graphite.

Cumbersome permitting processes and environmental reviews backed by Democrats and green groups have prevented the country from boosting its mineral reserves, Westerman and industry groups said. The Biden administration has rescinded approval or imposed checkpoints for major mining projects in Alaska, Arizona, Minnesota and Nevada since taking office, citing various environmental and wildlife protection measures.

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Natural Resources Chair Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, and Senator Martin Heinrich, D-Massachusetts, introduced legislation in May that would increase restrictions on mining despite their individual support for clean energy and the transition from fossil fuels to natural fuels. environment. The bill has the backing of several environmental groups who also support green energy efforts.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, Arizona, delivers closing remarks during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 29, 2020.  (Photo by BONNIE CASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“If you go back and look at the Recovery Act better – the same bill that they were talking about, that we need to electrify everything and phase out fossil fuels, build electric vehicles, and they had all these incentives to decarbonize the grid,” he said. Westerman. FOX Business. “The same bill had provisions such as the closure of the Resolution Copper mine in Superior, Arizona, which could provide 20% of US demand for copper over the next 50 years.”

“They were going to spend $350 million taxpayer dollars to shut down a $2 billion mine,” he added.

Meanwhile, Senate Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, DW.Va., promulgated his own permissive bill On Wednesday evening, he will aim to accelerate the implementation of energy projects, including infrastructure powered by fossil fuels. Manchin said the bill would be included in a public funding bill that Congress must pass before the end of the month to avoid a shutdown.

However, dozens of Democratic lawmakers, led by Grijalva, have declared their opposition to the bill.