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Rep. Pete Stauber Discusses the Need for Permitting Reform to Boost Domestic Mining

Energy affordability and reliability generates constant debate in Congress, especially in these past two years. With Republicans now the majority in the House of Representatives, the GOP is moving forward to address energy costs with H.R. 1, also known as “The Lower Energy Costs Act.” The bill includes several pieces of legislation that would reduce permitting timelines and bolster American energy production. Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN), who has been leading efforts to get this package across the finish line, recently joined John Hart on Right Voices to discuss the legislation and how it could benefit Americans. 

H.R. 1 is a comprehensive package that includes key bills such as the TAPP Act and BUILDER Act. Also included is Rep. Stauber’s Permitting for Mining Needs Act. It “allows for transparency, accountability, certainty in the investment in mining throughout the United States,” according to the Congressman. 

>>>READ: How America Can Diversify its Critical Mineral Supply Chain

Specifically, the bill: 

  • Creates certainty for miners by setting time limits on reviews and qualifying mining projects for the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council Dashboard;
  • Stops frivolous litigation by banning lawsuits filed well after a decision has been published; and
  • Cuts red tape by designating a lead agency and authorizing Memorandums of Understanding between sponsors and state and local governments.

Rep. Stauber’s legislation is coming at an especially important time for rare earth minerals. In the past year, lithium prices have soared as global demand has risen. At the same time, the U.S. remains heavily reliant on China for the supply and processing of these minerals, which has threatened domestic energy security and hampered many of the green projects the Biden administration has championed.

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Despite this, the administration has made it increasingly difficult to mine in the United States. Earlier this year the Department of Interior banned development on 225,000 acres in the Superior National Forest for two decades, effectively halting production for much of Minnesota’s Duluth Complex, one of the world’s largest and underdeveloped mineral deposits. Rep. Stauber, who represents this area of Minnesota, hopes that his bill will reduce approval timelines for mining and give regulatory certainty to the industry. 

>>>READ: Alaska’s Willow Project will Provide Energy and Economic Security

H.R. 1 also looks to bolster traditional fuels such as oil and natural gas. American oil and gas have an important role to play in lowering global emissions while delivering affordable and reliable energy to consumers. As Stauber stated: 

“I was at the State of the Union when Joe Biden said ‘we’re going to need oil and gas for at least the next 10 years.’ That statement is so out of touch. Our traditional fuels have given us prosperity and opportunity not only in our country, but across the world. We have to look at how we do it. We do it better, safer, and more environmentally friendly than any other nation. In fact in the Gulf of Mexico, we know we do it 41% cleaner than anybody… So why not invest in the United States? We know our allies are counting on us for those traditional fuels.” 

Rep. Stauber also discussed President Biden’s recent veto of the bipartisan ESG measure which disapproved of his Department of Labor’s ESG investing rule. In the past few months, both sides of the aisle have approached the issue with top-down solutions including banning states from doing business with investment funds from certain banks that consider ESG measures and forcing companies to disclose climate risks to investors as a way to increase ESG investing. Rep. Stauber took a more nuanced approach to the issue, saying, “The private sector can move this country and our economy forward. Allow the consumer, we the American people, to make our own choices.” 

The world needs affordable energy. Rep. Stauber is offering solutions to increase environmentally friendly mining practices and make common sense reforms to the permitting process. Steps like these would lower prices for Americans and improve our economic and energy security. 

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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