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Senators Blunt, Manchin Introduce Bill To Encourage Domestic Production Of Rare Earth Minerals, Boost U.S. Jobs & Innovation

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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF U.S. SENATOR ROY BLUNT (MO.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (W. Va.) introduced the “National Rare Earth Cooperative Act of 2014” this week, bipartisan legislation that relieves America’s dependence on China’s rare earth minerals, encourages private sector jobs and innovation, and preserves our the United States’ military technological edge. To read the bill, click here.

“By encouraging the domestic production and refinement of rare earth minerals, we can reduce our dependency on other countries, encourage job creation and economic development here in the U.S., and strengthen our nation’s military capabilities,” Blunt said. “I’m pleased to partner with Senator Manchin on this bipartisan legislation as we work to bring back the rare earth industry to the U.S.”

“I always say that we need a level playing field. China’s near-monopoly over the Global rare earth market is bad for our economy and bad for national security,” Manchin said. “This bipartisan legislation will help to end the imbalance – encouraging domestic production of our rare earth minerals which are used for everyday items like televisions and mobile phones, and are essential in strategic weapons systems we need for the national defense. I thank Senator Blunt for working with me on this commonsense measure to promote national security and economic development right here at home while also focusing on keeping good-paying jobs right here in America.”

Rare earth minerals are used in some of our military’s most strategic assets and are critical to the production of many high-tech goods and products used by the energy and defense industries. However, China has effectively put global competitors out of business, diverted advanced rare earth technology through its own borders, and gained greater control over the global rare earth mineral industry by using price manipulation and supply distortion at strategic moments.

The bipartisan National Rare Earth Cooperative Act grants private rare earth suppliers and end-users with an opportunity to jointly set up a rare earth refining cooperative in America. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), rare earth elements are located in the Pea Ridge iron-ore mine in Washington County, Mo. Missouri also has a long mining history in various minerals, including some of the largest sources of lead deposits in the country.

Blunt is also a co-sponsor of U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski’s (Alaska) Critical Minerals Bill, which directs the USGS to establish a list of minerals critical to the U.S. economy and national security such as Rare Earth Elements, and worked to include lead’s recognition as one of those minerals in the legislation.

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