President Obama is right to seek to accelerate the approvals process for much-needed infrastructure upgrades to our bridges, roads and railways, as outlined in Dave Boyer’s recent article (“Obama to push for more highway spending, blame GOP on blocked bill,” Web, May 14). However, to make these large-scale projects a reality once they are approved, the United States will require ample and stable supplies of domestic raw materials, including iron ore, nickel and copper. These are crucial to the development of our nation’s infrastructure.
Ironically, just as the president voices concern over long delays in the approvals process for major infrastructure projects, the permitting process for new mineral mines can span a decade, two-and-a-half times as long as it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge. These delays are due to redundancies and slow decision-making timeframes, which send mining investment overseas and leave the United States dangerously dependent on foreign sources for metals and minerals essential to our infrastructure.
To see infrastructure projects swiftly approved and built, America needs to cut through the red tape and get faster decisions on permits for mined metals and minerals, all while protecting communities and the environment. Without reform of our nation’s duplicative mining permitting regulations, the United States will continue to rely on foreign imports for minerals crucial to our transportation and infrastructure systems.
President and CEO
National Mining Association