Environmentalists put America’s vast mineral wealth off limits, ceding our future to China
Despite having a vast reserve of mineral resources, the U.S. is dependent for minerals on the goodwill and cooperation of other nations, including China and Russia.
Why are we in this situation? The answer is simple: Over the past five decades, our mining industry has been crippled by poor stewardship on the part of the federal government and by severe restrictions imposed at the behest of the environmentalist movement. It’s the major reason that scores of mining companies have gone under and tens of thousands of American jobs have been lost.
By contrast, in recent years, with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the oil and gas industry has prospered. New technology has presented us with the prospect of abundant energy, even energy independence—a seeming impossibility just a generation ago. Unfortunately, the story of strategic minerals has taken a very different and indeed sinister turn.
First, some definitions: The broad term “minerals” captures a variety of elemental metals, compounds, and exotic substances which provide the building blocks of today’s technologies and economies.
Collectively, minerals are essential to the manufacture of almost everything including household items, buildings, cars, trucks, energy equipment, medical devices, electronics, cell phones, agricultural products, and a wide range of essential goods, central to the economy.
Minerals deemed key to the economy are termed “critical.” Those necessary for national defense and military operations are termed “strategic.”
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