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House Urges Congress to Pass 'Rare Earth' Minerals Bill - Resources Committee's HR 16

Resources Committee’s HR 16 pushes for passage of H.R. 4866, state stands to gain from Bokan Mountain deposits – used in many green energy projects

Thursday, April 15, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House today unanimously passed House Resolution 16, urging the U.S. Congress to pass a bill allowing for the mining and processing of ‘Rare Earth’ minerals. The House Resources Committee sponsored the resolution.

“The rare earths are no longer mined in the United States, but they are exceptionally valuable due to their unique chemical, electrical and physical properties,” House Resources Committee Co-Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, said. “Rare Earth elements are critical to high-technology industries and many weapons systems used by our armed forces. They’re also in high demand for ‘green’ energy projects and there’s a backlog of buyers looking for them. The bottom line is you can’t go green without good old fashioned mining, and America’s ability to meet the new business and consumer demand is compromised until we get Rare Earth minerals back in production.”

Congressman Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, has introduced H.R. 4866, a bill entitled Rate Earths Supply-Chain Technology and Resources Transformation Act of 2010, or the RESTART Act. RESTART would establish a federal rare earths working group to assess and monitor strategic needs, create a national stockpile, evaluate international trade practices, facilitate loan guarantees for domestic supply-chain development, and support innovation and workforce development.

“We have known and available rare earths right here in Alaska at Bokan Mountain,” Johnson said. “Passing RESTART is another way we can provide for domestic energy security and provide for Alaska families, businesses, diversifying our economy and strengthening our mining industry.”

Copies of HR 16 will be sent to U.S. House Armed Services Committee Chair Ike Skelton, U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chair Sander Levin, U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank, the members of Alaska’s congressional delegation, and all members of the 111th U.S. Congress.

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