Barr says proposal would offset dependence on minerals from China

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVQ) – A new proposal could use one of the state’s biggest resources — coal — to offset an over-dependence o some minerals from China, according to Congressman Andy Barr

Barr introduced H.R. 8198, the National Security Through America’s Resources and Permitting Reform Act of 2020, to support the domestic production of rare-earth elements, critical minerals, and carbon which are used in advanced technology, clean energy development and military equipment such as the F-35 fighter aircraft. It is estimated that 80% of rare-earth minerals in the United States come from China.

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The proposal streamlines what is known as FAST 41 permitting for certain mining projects related to the extraction, recovery, or processing of critical minerals, rare-earth elements, microfine carbon, or carbon from coal, coal waste, coal processing waste, pre-or post-combustion coal byproducts, or acid mine drainage from coal mines.

“The United States must transition medical, pharmaceutical, rare-earth element and other supply chains critical to national security away from China,” said Barr. “My legislation will jumpstart American domestic critical mineral, rare-earth element, and carbon production to make our supply chains more resilient while creating opportunities for coal and coal byproducts to be used in new, clean, and innovative ways.”

“The U.S. possesses the world’s largest coal reserves,” said Rich Nolan, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Mining Association (NMA). “Not only is coal critical to providing affordable and reliable power, it’s also used to produce the steel for the nation’s infrastructure and it’s a largely untapped resource for critical minerals and other rare earth elements. Coal and coal waste streams can and should be used to help reduce our overreliance on foreign sources of the minerals so integral to our economic and national security.  NMA applauds Rep. Andy Barr’s legislation as a pathway to harness these opportunities and further utilize our nation’s vast coal reserves.

On December 4, 2015, the FAST Act was signed into law. Title 41 of this Act, referred to as “FAST-41,” created a new governance structure, set of procedures, and funding authorities to improve the federal environmental review and authorization process for certain projects.