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News Article

Rep. Johnson to co-chair Rare Earth Caucus

Feb. 7, 2012

Rep. Johnson to co-chair Rare Earth Caucus

Johnson: Rare earth elements critical to economic strength, national security – will use FY13 Defense Authorization to advance U.S. policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) today announced he will serve as co-chair of the bipartisan U.S. House Rare Earth Caucus with U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06).

The Rare Earth Caucus is comprised of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives committed to securing U.S. supply of rare earth elements. Critical to clean energy and defense manufacturing, rare earth elements are strategic minerals used to produce technologies such as wind turbines, advanced batteries, powerful magnets, and military radar systems.

Currently, China accounts for 97 percent of global rare earth element production and recently has restricted exports. The Chinese monopoly is a strategic vulnerability for the United States that could undermine national security and competitiveness in defense, clean energy, and electronics.

• READ: National Geographic reports, “ China’s rare-earth minerals monopoly gives it key clean energy supply role ”

In 2011, Rep. Johnson introduced the Resource Assessment of Rare Earths (RARE) Act of 2011, cosponsored by Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Rep. Edward Markey (MA-07), which directs the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a three-year global mineral assessment of rare earth elements.

One of 25 bills included in House Democrats’ “ Make it in America” agenda , most of the RARE Act was included in the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011 (H.R. 2011), which passed the Republican-controlled House Natural Resources Committee with bipartisan support in 2011.

• READ: LA Times coverage of Rep. Johnson’s “RARE Act”

“A strong rare earth policy will reduce our dependence on China and create American jobs,” said Johnson. “I look forward to working with Congressman Coffman to build bipartisan support for initiatives to secure U.S. supply and promote domestic production of rare earth elements.”

Johnson, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said he plans to use the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act to advance U.S. rare earth policy. “We’ve got to move aggressively on rare earths, and the defense bill is a great vehicle,” said Johnson.

The staff contact for rare earth policy in Congressman Johnson’s office is Jonathan Ossoff ( jonathan.ossoff@mail.house.gov ), Senior Legislative Assistant.

Current member of the Rare Earth Caucus include: Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-06), Rep. Robert E. Latta (OH-05), Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06), Rep. Paul A. Gosar (AZ-1), Rep. Devin Nunes (CA-21), Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01), Rep. Leonard Boswell (IA-03), Rep. Steve King (IA-05), Rep. Dave Loebsack (IA-2), Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis (WY-at large), Rep. Tom Latham (IW-04), and Rep. Don Young (AK-at large).



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