Facing reality on our rare-earth policies

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

So the United States has threatened to go to the World Trade Organization (WTO) with its concerns over China’s rare-earth policies (“Beijing to cut rare-earth exports again,” Geopolitics, Dec. 29). We would get much further if we went after the White House, Interior Department, Congress and environmental activist groups.

In addition to Molycorp’s Mountain Pass deposit, the United States likely has many world-class deposits of the rare-earth metals that are essential for electric and hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and other foundations of President Obama’s “green” economy. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t allowed to look for or mine them.

Well over 400 million acres are effectively sealed off to mineral exploration and development, according to consulting geologist L. Courtland Lee. That’s 62 percent of the nation’s public lands - an area nearly equal to Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming combined. They are primarily in Alaska and our 11 western-most lower 48 states, and primarily in areas that hold the greatest potential in the entire country for such deposits.

Worse, Mr. Lee’s analysis was done in 1994. Tens of millions more acres have been locked up since then in wilderness, park, preserve, wildlife refuge, wilderness study and other restrictive land-use categories, or simply made unavailable by bureaucratic fiat or foot-dragging. And the White House, Interior Department, Congress and eco-activists are hell-bent on making even more prospects unavailable.

How ironic. First these eco-ideologues lock up the raw materials. Then they impose “renewable energy standards” that require the very materials they’ve locked up and which were rarely needed until now. Then they go bellyaching to the WTO when China decides to slash its raw material exports, create manufacturing jobs in the Middle Kingdom and sell us its shiny, new wind turbines, solar panels, magnets, batteries and compact fluorescent lamp light bulbs.

If that’s how Mr. Obama is going to make jobs and the economy his “No. 1 priority,” a lot of Americans are going to spend a long time freezing, jobless and in the dark.


Fairfax, Va.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts