US Voters support mine permitting reform to decrease import reliance of defense supply chain
As the U.S. becomes increasingly import-reliant for the minerals needed for military equipment and technologies, 62 percent of voters support U.S. government action to encourage the use of domestically-mined minerals and decrease reliance on foreign-imported minerals, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult for the National Mining Association (NMA).
“Our defense industrial base supply chain begins with minerals,” said Hal Quinn, NMA president and CEO. “Without minerals like beryllium, copper and nickel, our troops wouldn’t have fighter jets, body armor and advanced imaging technologies. But the onerous mine permitting process in the U.S. has made us increasingly import-reliant, forcing us to look abroad for the minerals we already have here at home. Congress has an opportunity to address this vulnerability in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act by maintaining the robust minerals security provision that was included in the House bill.”
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes funding to equip, supply and train our troops and support military families. Conferees for the NDAA Fiscal Year 2019 will meet July 11 to begin the conference process. As conferees discuss a path forward, both the House and the Senate have repeatedly recognized that minerals are vital to the defense supply chain.
The U.S. Department of Defense uses 750,000 tons of minerals each year. Those minerals are essential for the development of everything from armored personnel carriers to submarines, night vision goggles to sonar.
Unfortunately, duplicative federal and state regulations and lack of coordination between agencies discourages domestic mining. The result is a permitting process that can take from seven to 10 years, which increases our reliance on imported minerals that are vital to the items needed by our troops to protect themselves and our country. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. is now import-dependent for 50 key metals and minerals – 100 percent import dependent for 21 of those. Strengthening our defense supply chain through the NDAA will help facilitate access to the vital resources that protect those who protect our country.
The poll found that 62 percent support government action to support domestic mining, 25 percent did not know or had no opinion, and just 13 percent opposed reform. The poll was conducted from June 7-10, 2018, of 2,201 adults nationwide carrying a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.