U.S. House passes National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – September 19, 2013)

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H.R. 761 faces an uphill battle in a Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate even if the measure manages to survive in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

RENO (MINEWEB) – As the Republicans of the U.S. House of Representatives once again voted Wednesday to streamline mining permit approvals, the question remains as to whether the proposed National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act will again die in the Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate.

The House passed H.R. 761, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act, in a 246-178 vote with only 15 Democrats voting in favor.

This time around even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) issued a public statement applauding passage of the measure, introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nevada, the former president of the Nevada Mining Association.

“The United States has abundant natural resources, including critical and strategic materials that are vital to our manufacturers, medical providers and military personnel; and that provides the basis for common household products. Unfortunately, federal regulations are standing the way of production of these critical minerals, forcing away good paying mining jobs and leaving our manufacturers dependent on foreign countries,” Cantor observed.

“The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act streamlines the permitting process and allows the United States to more efficiently and responsibly develop these resources,” he stressed.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, a longtime supporter of the measure, spoke on the floor of the House in support of H.R. 761.

“Not a day goes by when Americans don’t use a product that is made from critical minerals. In fact, life as we know it in the 21st Century would not be possible without minerals,” Hastings observed. “The list is exhaustive of the things that depend on critical minerals that make modern life possible.”

“Yet, despite the tremendous need for rare earth elements, the United States has allowed itself to become almost entirely dependent on China and other foreign nations for these resources,” he said.

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