(Washington, DC) - House Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK) released a statement today on the inclusion of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) critical minerals legislation in the latest Senate Republicans’ COVID-19 relief package.

“China holds an overwhelming advantage in access to critical minerals and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it dangerously clear that we can’t take our supply for granted,” Lucas said. “From battery storage technologies and defense systems to healthcare equipment and medicines, U.S. national security, economic growth, and energy independence are dependent on our access to critical minerals. That's why I'm pleased to see that Chairman Murkowski’s bill, the American Mineral Security Act, is included in the Senate’s COVID recovery package. It's an important first step. House Republicans have introduced a more comprehensive approach with H.R. 7061, the American Critical Mineral Exploration Act, which builds on the successes of the American Mineral Security Act. It's clear that we share the goal of securing America's critical mineral supply and reducing our reliance on China, so I look forward to working with our Senate colleagues in conference to get these included in the final legislative product.”

Currently, the United States is import reliant on 31 of the 35 critical minerals identified by the Department of the Interior, and of these, 14 are imported to the U.S. at a rate of 100%. 

To address this shortage, the American Critical Mineral Exploration Act was recently introduced by Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Rob Bishop (R-UT), House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). 

In addition to the provisions in the Senate legislation to secure the critical mineral supply chain, the American Critical Mineral Exploration Act fully deploys the unique scientific capabilities and expertise of the Department of Energy and its national laboratory system to meet the global critical minerals challenge. It authorizes the Department to expand its collaborative critical minerals research and development activities through the creation of a Critical Minerals Consortium and leverages DOE’s capabilities and expertise in advanced computing to establish a critical minerals database.

The additional provisions included in this bill are necessary to drive the research and development activities needed to secure the U.S. supply of critical minerals.