the House Committee on Natural Resources majority held a markup on 10 bills, including H.R. 2794, which would create significant barriers to mineral development in the Duluth Complex.
“In recent years, an anti-mining sentiment has permeated in the Twin Cities and the coasts,” Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Ranking Member Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) said. “This anti-jobs, anti-mining movement is hellbent on eliminating our mining jobs and robbing Minnesotans from developing our mineral wealth needed for our country. Let’s be clear: a vote for this bill will eliminate generations of union jobs and economic development on Minnesota’s Iron Range. I voted against this bill in order to support good-paying union jobs, domestic critical mineral supply chain security and to restore American mineral dominance.”
“This is just a scare tactic,” House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) said. “I’ve been to the Boundary Waters area of the Superior National Forest with Representative Stauber, I’ve seen these areas and these proposed mining plans, and they are not threatening the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. I’ll tell you what is being threatened: American sovereignty, American jobs and the American economy. I would ask the majority, if not here, then where? If we’re not getting these minerals and elements here, we’ll be getting them from China.”
The Duluth Complex in northern Minnesota contains nearly 8 billion tons of copper, nickel, cobalt and platinum group metals. These minerals will soon see huge upswings in demand due to their use in batteries, electric vehicles and other rapidly expanding sectors. If developed, the Duluth Complex could constitute 95 percent of U.S. nickel reserves, 88 percent of U.S. cobalt reserves and 75 percent of U.S. platinum-group reserves.
Northern Minnesota is also home to the historic Iron Range, where taconite mining has occurred for more than 130 years. Developing this region is in the national interest due to the many important uses of the resources. Mining would also provide immense economic benefits to the surrounding area.
While the Duluth Complex and Boundary Waters are in Stauber’s congressional district, H.R. 2794 was written and advanced without his input and against the express wishes of his constituents, those closest to the area in question.
The committee also reported the following Republican bills during the markup:
- H.R. 7693, introduced by U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), which extends the authorization of appropriations for the National Park Foundation through 2030.
- H.R. 6442, introduced by U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho), which expands the Interior Secretary’s authority to enter into cooperative management agreements with tribal governments and quasi-governmental entities.
H.R. 6936, introduced by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), which directs the U.S. Postal Service to issue a “Combatting Invasive Species Semipostal Stamp” that would be priced between 15 to 25 percent higher than a standard first-class stamp and direct net proceeds to combatting invasive species.