America has unfortunately grown far too dependent on foreign sources for many of the 35 critical minerals and 21 rare earth elements that we need to ensure a reliable, national supply chain and a functional national defense. Not surprisingly, China is rapidly asserting itself as the largest mining and processing entity on the planet. Additionally, from an environmental perspective, China is the dirtiest place to mine & process and America is the cleanest.
These critical minerals and rare earth elements are crucial components in everyday product manufacturing, but also in our high-tech devices like transformers, cable, steel, laptops, cell phones, and electric vehicles. Reliance on China or other countries for these critical minerals and elements is an unacceptable risk to America’s supply chains and to our national defense.
Without our own secured sources of critical minerals and rare earth elements, huge segments of defense, telecommunication and consumer electronics are at risk of crippling shortages which could not be quickly remedied.
I am convinced that the USA must urgently set and achieve a goal of having 120% operating capacity of the 35 critical minerals and 21 rare earth elements inside of North America. Note that 17 of the 21 rare earth elements are not found in America – I believe our goal here must be to have two years of supply stockpiled in America. The sourcing (when not available in North America) must not be from our enemies such as China and Iran. Preference must be given to Mexico and Canada, then to other friendly, nearby countries for our supply. We must also stop exporting any of these minerals and elements until we have achieved 120% capacity of our needs.
I will use my deep business experience in the power industry to work with Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, and other federal agencies to significantly streamline the mining and processing permitting process to remove unnecessary obstacles to the rapid expansion of access to these resources. We must mine and process responsibly in line with federal law to ensure clean water and air.
Sadly, the federal agencies are supposed to work for the American people – not against them as they do now. These agencies have grown too large, engage in endless interpretations and reviews, and have no accountability to ensure critical national resource goals are met. China cheers every time a good project is delayed as they then get the jobs and increase the American trade deficit.
Our national goal must be to remove redundant permit processes and move permit reviews and compliance to the State level. The goal must be to cut overall permitting time to less than 2 years for each mining and processing operation that complies with Federal law.
I will work with the industry to better utilize existing processing sites, repurpose idle rural facility locations, and target unused, remote US military lands for new facilities. I will work with industry leaders and Arizona’s governor to maximize the use of locations in Arizona’s rural areas where good-paying jobs are sorely needed.
Arizona is the ideal location for a national revival of our mining and processing industry as 45% of our state is currently on “federal” lands and, if we leverage the already strong mining industry in Arizona (2nd largest in America), and our good universities and tech centers for training for these new jobs, we will help lots of rural folks enjoy better-paying jobs with long-term careers.