A renaissance to reverse US strategic minerals imports: Dig, Baby, Dig – by Ned Mamula and William Murray (The Hill – October 23, 2017)


The “energy dominance” strategy pursed by the Trump administration has focused on keeping the national economy free from coercion by nations that use resources as economic weapons.

In a joint op-ed in June, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt alluded to this strategy, extolling the American energy renaissance and pledging that energy discussions would “no longer (be) about peak resources or being beholden to foreign powers.”

Given this heightened attention to energy security, it’s too bad leaders are not paying the same attention to a national security risk at least as large as oil-import dependency was a decade ago — the domestic supply of critical and strategic minerals.

As trade tensions with China grow, a decision by that nation to cut off exports of key minerals could threaten the $2.8 trillion U.S. manufacturing economy, while critical components of the U.S. military’s present and future arsenal also are put at risk.

But just as the emergence of hydraulic-fracturing techniques quelled fears about “peak oil,” the United States also could do much more to exploit its minerals wealth. The same geological processes that created huge hydrocarbon-rich shale fields throughout the continent also created a 1,000-mile wide mineral belt between Colorado and the Pacific Ocean — one of the largest repositories of critical and strategic minerals in the world.

For the rest of this column: http://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/356729-a-renaissance-to-reverse-us-strategic-minerals-imports-dig-baby