Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, this amendment really picks up on what my arguments were at the end of the general debate because the effect of this amendment would be to pick winners and losers by narrowly defining a use. And as I stated in my closing remarks, we have four categories that I think are very broad and change over a period of time.
So what this amendment does is try to restrict what may be decided as a critical mineral. Of course, that will change over time. If this amendment is adopted--and I, obviously, urge rejection of this amendment--but if it were to be adopted, I can make a prediction that I know would come back, and that is we'll be back here in the future saying there's another set of critical minerals that we need to define. And we keep doing that over and over and over. Isn't it much better to define the categories
and then apply those minerals to those categories? Because they will change.
I find it kind of interesting, too, Mr. Chairman, because I closed my general debate remarks by talking about sand and gravel. My good friend from southern California, I guess, alluded to the fact that sand and gravel don't fit into that category. I'm not going to ask him to answer me, but I'll just ask the question rhetorically, I wonder if he felt that way after the earthquake collapsed freeways in southern California. Would he have liked to wait maybe 4 years for the permitting process to
get sand and gravel in order to build those freeways that are so important to southern California?
I asked that question rhetorically, of course, Mr. Chairman.
But I just want to say that this amendment would do exactly opposite of what the intent of this bill is about, and that is that it picks winners and losers. I urge its rejection, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. LOWENTHAL. I welcome those comments, but let's be real clear what I'm talking about. I am talking about eliminating a giveaway of almost all hard rock mining, to really defining what is strategic and critical as defined by the robust methodology in the National Research Council's report.
Now, what do I mean by a robust methodology? It says if we look at all the mining that we have, if we look at what we have to define as strategic, we have to look along two dimensions in a scientific way. We have to know: What is the impact of this mineral or this mining if there was a supply restriction? What would be the impact if there was a supply restriction? Would it impact defense? Would it impact national security? If it does have an impact, then it has a high rating on that.
Also, what about the supply risk? We need to measure, if we do not develop this mine at this place, are there other places that we can? If, in fact, a mineral has high supply risk, high impact, not only are those minerals defined now, but the Secretary of the Interior, using this methodology, will define. This clearly defines what is needed in terms of strategic and critical, and not just everything.
I remind you that right now we are loosening in the bill the environmental protections, public participation, judicial review for everything. We're doing it, as was pointed out, for national defense, he said, anything that meets national security requirements, for energy infrastructure, pipelines, refining capacity, power generation, domestic manufacturing--which includes everything, whether it's important or not--health care, telecommunications, transportation. What we're doing is we're gutting
protections for everything, not those that are just needed.
I present a methodology which will allow a real clear definition, not just of what's in the bill now, but include a methodology that the Secretary of the Interior can include if the material is really needed to be mined.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. LOWENTHAL. Again, I introduced this amendment that would narrow the bill's definition to not what is purported to be strategic but actually what is strategic, that if we're going to give benefits, they must be strategic, and my amendment provides for an actual way of measuring that.
I urge adoption of the amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.