Interior Department gives mining industry national security status

In its latest pro-industry move, the Trump administration is now declaring that the mining of certain minerals is a matter of national security. The U.S. Department of the Interior released for public comment a draft list of 35 “critical minerals” that includes uranium, lithium, titanium, and aluminum, whose industrial applications range from batteries to fertilizer to atomic research. The stated goal is to decrease reliance on mineral imports by increasing domestic production, but this is yet another indication that the administration prioritizes the interests of the mining industry over thorough environmental reviewsprotection of public lands, and public opinion. The list does not specifically state how national security status will impact mining in the United States, but a statement made the same day by the National Mining Association’s CEO reads like a roadmap: The Interior Department “should act to address the greatest threat to U.S. mineral security: the broken domestic mining permitting process.”

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