By Ghost of John Brown
From Congressman Randy Hultgren's Office:
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today introduced the “Energy Critical Elements Advancement Act of 2011,” legislation addressing rare, energy critical elements that are integral to new energy technologies but are not currently extracted or traded in commercial quantities.
“This legislation addresses energy critical elements, rare minerals that are necessary for everything from cutting-edge weapons systems to consumer electronics, and does so in a commonsense, market-oriented way,” said Hultgren, a freshman and member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. “These elements are intrinsically rare in distribution, and the economics of their production as well as geopolitics leads to uncertain supply, yet they are vital to the modern world.”
“We are delighted that Representative Hultgren’s bill reflects so strongly the recommendations for information gathering, research and recycling that were urged in the report of the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society,” said Dr. Robert Jaffe, the Jane and Otto Morningstar Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It is an excellent approach to address the critical minerals issues facing the United States.”
Other bills have been introduced to address supply issues surrounding these elements, relying on a combination of loan guarantees for mining companies, task forces, and government-mandated stockpiling. Instead, Hultgren’s legislation, HR 2090, relies on information-gathering, research and recycling.
“While it is widely acknowledged that the United States faces near-term disruptions in the availability of some energy critical elements, there is no absolute limit on their availability in the foreseeable future; as such, I believe that there is no need for a heavy-handed government intervention in this issue,” said Hultgren. “Instead, the ‘triad’ apparatus in this legislation takes a market-based approach that will enhance the supply of these elements for both academia and industry.”