Washington, D.C. – Congressman Andy Barr is spearheading new legislation to spur U.S. domestic mineral production amid a serious shortage and overdependence on China utilizing one of Kentucky’s richest resources—coal.  Barr introduced H.R. 8198, the National Security Through America’s Resources and Permitting Reform Act of 2020 to support the domestic production of rare-earth elements, critical minerals, and carbon which are used in advanced technology, clean energy development and military equipment such as the F-35 fighter aircraft. It is estimated that 80% of rare-earth minerals in the United States come from China.

Barr’s legislation amends the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to expand eligibility for FAST 41 permitting.  This expansion allows for a streamlined approval process for certain mining projects in the U.S and would include projects related to the extraction, recovery, or processing of critical minerals, rare-earth elements, microfine carbon, or carbon from coal, coal waste, coal processing waste, pre-or post-combustion coal byproducts, or acid mine drainage from coal mines for the purposes of securing the economic and national security of the United States.

“The United States must transition medical, pharmaceutical, rare-earth element and other supply chains critical to national security away from China,” said Congressman Barr. “My legislation will jumpstart American domestic critical mineral, rare-earth element, and carbon production to make our supply chains more resilient while creating opportunities for coal and coal byproducts to be used in new, clean, and innovative ways.”

“The U.S. possesses the world’s largest coal reserves,” said Rich Nolan, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Mining Association (NMA).  “Not only is coal critical to providing affordable and reliable power, it’s also used to produce the steel for the nation’s infrastructure and it’s a largely untapped resource for critical minerals and other rare earth elements.  Coal and coal waste streams can and should be used to help reduce our overreliance on foreign sources of the minerals so integral to our economic and national security.  NMA applauds Rep. Andy Barr’s legislation as a pathway to harness these opportunities and further utilize our nation’s vast coal reserves.

On December 4, 2015, the FAST Act was signed into law. Title 41 of this Act, referred to as “FAST-41,” created a new governance structure, set of procedures, and funding authorities to improve the Federal environmental review and authorization process for certain projects.

Barr is proposing this legislation as part of his work on the U.S. House of Representatives China Task Force, which will be issuing its final report tomorrow.  Barr is serving as the Co-Chair of the Task Force Subgroup on Competitiveness and the Subgroup on Economics and Energy.