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March 31, 2022

King Pushes for Increased Critical Mineral Production, Reduced Dependence on China

In a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, King stresses need to balance environmental protections, investments in mineral production

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King today called for a simpler permitting process for new production of critical minerals, a key component of smart phones and network technology. In a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, King highlighted the burdensome process facing mineral mining projects, and pushed for a streamlined permitting procedure that will allow for new investment in this critical field while maintaining strong environmental protections. Today’s push in the Senate hearing comes one day after Senator King introduced the bipartisan Quad Critical Minerals Partnership Act to improve America’s access to critical minerals and counter China’s current market dominance of these vital resources.

“One of my favorite sayings of Mark Twain is that history doesn’t always repeat itself but it usually rhymes. And in this case I’m thinking about to the predecessor in my Senate seat Edmund Muskie of Maine who wrote the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act passed in 1970 after immense effort by Senator Muskie, unanimously,” said Senator King. “It seems to me that what we are talking about today is a solvable problem. We need these minerals, we need to cut off our dependency on other countries that are unreliable or even hostile – to me that is just common sense. We also need to protect our watersheds and our rivers and our natural resources in our communities. This is an engineering problem.”

“I have worked in energy permitting, and been an advocate for development for all my life – in fact, next year marks 40 years since I went into the alternative energy business. What I said when I was Governor of Maine was that I want the strongest, the most far reaching environmental laws in the country and the most timely and predictable permitting process. I don’t think that the permitting process itself should be used as weapon to stop a project,” continued Senator King. “We’ve got to have one-stop permitting. We’ve got to have coordination between the state and the federal government – this doesn’t mean lowering the standards, it doesn’t mean skipping steps, it doesn’t mean avoiding difficult issues… It just seems to me that this is in the nature of a scientific and engineering problem and we should be able to solve it so that we can permit necessary projects for national security within a reasonable period of time.”

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, Senator King is committed to advancing American competitiveness in 21st century technologies while improving national security and protecting our environment. Senator King is the co-chair of the Senate Semiconductor Caucus, and has been one of the Senate’s leading advocates for improving battery technology and recycling as a way to create good-paying American jobs and invest in a clean energy future. Along with the Quad Critical Minerals Partnership Act, he introduced the Battery Material Processing and Component Manufacturing Act to boost domestic production of batteries, and the Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act of 2021 to incentivize the recycling of single use and rechargeable batteries. 

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