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Before the U.S House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

From the testimony:

Thank you Mr. Chairman for the opportunity to submit this testimony before your committee in opposition to HR 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012.  My name is Lauren Pagel, Policy Director for Earthworks. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the destructive impacts of mineral and energy development. We work closely with a broad coalition of local governments, Native Americans, citizen groups and other conservation organizations to improve the policies governing hardrock mining and oil and gas development.

The proponents argue that while the United States has vast mineral resources, according to the opinion of one consultant we rank near the bottom of 25 major mining countries in permitting delays.  Implied, but not directly stated in the bill’s findings, is that because of these delays the U.S. is not an attractive mineral investment destination.

We believe this premise is flawed. In fact, according to a survey of the mining companies themselves federal mining policies – if anything – encourage mineral investment in the U.S.

What is certain: HR 4402 would negatively impact the environment of publicly owned lands within mining states.  And it would seriously impair the public’s ability to review and provide input on the uses of its lands.