Rare Earth Elements in National Defense
R. 2184, Rare Earth Policy Task Force and Materials Act
R. 2184 was introduced by Representative Mike Coffman on June 15, 2011. The bill would
establish a Rare Earth Policy Task Force for a period of 10 years within the Department of the Interior for the purpose of developing a plan to ensure the long-term supply of rare earth materials.72 The Task Force would be directed to assist federal agencies in reviewing laws, regulations, and policies that discourage investment in, exploration for, and development of, domestic rare earths. The Task Force would also be required to submit an annual report that would provide a plan for research, development, demonstration, and commercial application to ensure the long-term, secure, and sustainable supply of rare earth materials sufficient to satisfy the national security, economic well-being, and industrial production needs of the United States (based on specific criteria). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
R. 2090, Energy Critical Elements Advancement Act of 2011
R. 2090 was introduced by Representative Randy Hultgren on June 2, 2011, and was referred
to the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. The bill would require the Secretaries of Energy and Interior to establish a research program to advance basic materials science, chemistry, physics, and engineering associated with energy critical elements.
R. 2011, National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011
R. 2011 was introduced on May 26, 2011, by Representative Doug Lamborn and referred to the
House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. On July 20, 2011, the committee ordered the bill to be reported, as amended. On October 14, 2011, the bill was amended by the Committee on Natural Resources and placed on the Union Calendar.
The bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to (1) conduct an assessment of the United States’ capability to meet current and future demands for the minerals critical to domestic manufacturing competitiveness, economic, and national security in a time of expanding resource nationalism; (2) conduct an assessment of the current mineral potential of federal lands, and an evaluation of mineral requirements to meet current and emerging needs for economic and national security, and U.S. industrial manufacturing needs (such an assessment would address the implications of any potential mineral shortages or supply disruptions, as well as the potential impact of U.S. dependence on foreign sources for any minerals); and (3) conduct an inventory of rare earth elements and other minerals deemed critical based on the potential for supply disruptions, including an analysis of the supply chain for each mineral.
Finally, the bill would set policy goals for federal agencies to coordinate responsibilities for:
facilitating the availability, development, and production of domestic mineral
resources to meet national needs;
72 The Task Force would be chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and would include the Secretaries (or a designee of each Secretary) of Energy, Agriculture, Defense, Commerce and State. Other members would include the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality.
Congressional Research Service