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Media Contact:

Alan Septoff, aseptoff@earthworks.org, 202-887-1872 x105

In today’s Federal Register, the Interior Department published a final list of “critical minerals” in response to President Trump’s December 20, 2017 executive order, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals”.

Presidents Trump’s order followed multiple failed attempts by Congress, most recently introduced by Rep. Amodei (R-NV), to gut the mine permitting process for so-called ‘critical minerals’. Now that the USGS has created this list, the executive order gives the Interior & Commerce Departments (and other agencies) 180 days to provide policy strategies to the President, including “recommendations to streamline permitting and review processes related to developing leases; enhancing access to critical mineral resources; and increasing discovery, production, and domestic refining of critical minerals.”

Statement of Earthworks’ Senior Policy Counsel Aaron Mintzes:
“Which minerals make the list misses the point. The mining lobby has misdirected this debate away from our genuine mineral needs toward their decade long attempt to eviscerate community and environmental oversight of the nation’s largest toxic polluter.

What’s ‘critical’ is protecting our clean air and water. The real problem comes when the Interior Department decides what to do with this list. Our worry is criticality designations will serve as a conduit for removing public input in our government’s mining decisions.”


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