WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leading industry, manufacturing and scientific associations, critical materials scientists and strategic materials producers have joined together to support legislation that would establish a secure and reliable supply chain for strategic and critical materials. The Bingaman-Murkowski substitute amendment to S. 1113, the “Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011,” would establish a workable framework for the proper designation and preservation of these materials.
Currently, several critical areas of the American economy, including clean energy technology, national defense and high-tech manufacturing, are at risk because they rely on minerals that are not mined, processed and traded in healthy and robust markets. As a result, the U.S has become dependent on unreliable trading partners such as China. We need to develop new, dependable sources for these minerals; research replacements for the ones at greatest risk; provide information to business, industry, and universities to enable them to plan for the future; and educate a new generation of scientists and engineers who will lead a U.S. renaissance across the critical material supply chain from mining to recycling. The Bingaman-Murkowski legislation lays a path to achieve these goals.
On July 23, the broad and unprecedented critical-minerals coalition of scientific, industry and manufacturing groups sent a letter to the bill’s co-sponsors, Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Lisa Murkowski, expressing strong support and urging the chairmen to advance the bill in the Senate. “…we respectfully urge you to both schedule a mark-up of the legislation in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and to bring it to the floor of the U.S. Senate before this session of Congress ends,” the letter said.
The letter’s co-signers collectively represent more than 450,000 scientists and tens of thousands of miners, processers, manufacturers and other industries with millions of employees across the U.S. These jobs and future opportunities are dependent upon the establishment of a diverse and reliable U.S. supply chain for these materials. The importance of critical materials will only grow in the future as our scientists and engineers find more exciting ways to make use of their unique properties. The co-signers believe it is imperative to take steps now to ensure the future availability these critical materials.
The Bingaman-Murkowski legislation demonstrates bi-partisan support for action on critical minerals in the Senate, and there is wide support for similar efforts in the House. The Senate now has a unique opportunity to act on and to adopt substantial critical material legislation that will jumpstart the establishment of a secure, reliable supply chain for U.S. business and industry.
The letter’s co-signers stand ready to assist the Senate as they markup the bill and they strongly urge its passage.