The concern over rare earth minerals and manufacturers’ ability to obtain them is real. The need for these minerals is great, as they are used in the defense industry, as well as in consumer electronics and petroleum refining.    Their extraction is economically and environmentally costly, and America’s dependence upon other nations to supply these is nearly absolute.

China now produces 97% of the world’s supply and has a monopoly over these minerals.  Such dependence is bad for manufacturing and bad for America. The only real solution to this problem is for the U.S. to re-open its mines and re-start the process of extracting these resources. 

Several pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress, as legislators realize the importance of this issue for our country and for manufacturers. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has introduced legislation addressing the shortage of rare earth minerals and the bill has several provisions that are important for addressing this issue.  As this debate continues, it is vital that lawmakers carefully review the various proposals and take into account the factors that are important to job creators.

A thoughtful solution needs to be implemented swiftly to bring domestic mining and processing of these minerals back on line.

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