2184 112th CONGRESS
H. R. 2184
To establish the Rare Earth Policy Task Force,
to direct the Secretary of the Interior to develop a plan to ensure the long-term
supply of rare earth materials, and for other purposes.IN
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 15, 2011
COFFMAN of Colorado introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee
on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Science, Space, and
Technology, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each
case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the
the Rare Earth Policy Task Force, to direct the Secretary of the Interior to develop
a plan to ensure the long-term supply of rare earth materials, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled,
1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Rare Earth Policy
Task Force and Materials Act'.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Significant quantities
of rare earths are used in the production of clean energy technologies, including
advanced automotive propulsion batteries, electric motors, high-efficiency light
bulbs, solar panels, and wind turbines. These technologies are used to advance
the United States energy policy of reducing dependence on foreign oil and decreasing
greenhouse gas emissions through expansion of cleaner sources of energy.
(2) Many modern defense technologies such as radar and sonar systems, precision-guided
weapons, cruise missiles, and lasers cannot be built, as designed and specified,
without the use of rare earths and materials produced from them.
(3) Rare earths also provide core functionality to a variety of high technology
applications in computing, pollution abatement, power generation, water treatment,
oil refining, metal alloying, communications, health care, agriculture, and other
(4) Though at least 40 percent of the world's
rare earth reserves are located within the United States and its ally nations,
our country now depends upon imports for nearly 100 percent of its rare earth
SEC. 3. ACTIONS TO PROMOTE RARE EARTH DEVELOPMENT.
(1) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established within
the Department of the Interior a task force to be known as the `Rare Earth Policy
Task Force' (referred to in this section as the `Task Force'), which shall report
to the President through the Secretary of the Interior.
(2) COMPOSITION- The Task Force shall be composed of the following:
(A) The Secretary of the Interior (or a designee of such Secretary), who shall
serve as chair of the Task Force.
(B) The Secretary
of Energy (or a designee of such Secretary).
(C) The Secretary of Agriculture (or a designee of such Secretary).
(D) The Secretary of Defense (or a designee of such Secretary).
(E) The Secretary of Commerce (or a designee of such Secretary).
(F) The Secretary of State (or a designee of such Secretary).
(G) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (or a designee of the
(H) The Chairman of the Council on
Environmental Quality (or a designee of the Chairman).
(I) Such other members as the Secretary of the Interior considers appropriate.
(b) Duties- The Task Force shall assist Federal agencies in reviewing laws (including
regulations) and policies that discourage investment in, exploration for, and
development of domestic rare earths pursuant to Federal Land Policy and Management
Act of 1976, the Act of June 4, 1897, the National Forest Management Act of 1976,
and any other applicable statutory authorities related to domestic mining operations.
(c) Annual Reports- At least once each year, the Task Force shall submit to the
President, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate, the Committee
on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Natural
Resources of the House of Representatives a report that identifies the substantive
and procedural requirements of Federal, State, tribal, and local laws (including
regulations) and Executive orders that are inconsistent with, duplicative of,
or structured so as to restrict effective implementation of projects that will
increase investment in, exploration for, and development of domestic rare earths.
(d) Termination- The Task Force shall terminate 10 years after the date of the
enactment of this Act.
SEC. 4. RARE EARTH MATERIALS PROGRAM PLAN.
(1) IN GENERAL- Within 180 days after the date of
enactment of this Act and biennially thereafter, the Secretary of the Interior
shall prepare and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a plan for
research, development, demonstration, and commercial application to ensure the
long-term, secure, and sustainable supply of rare earth materials sufficient to
satisfy the national security, economic well-being, and industrial production
needs of the United States.
(2) SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS-
The plan shall include a description of--
research and development activities to be carried out under the plan during the
subsequent 2 years;
(B) the expected contributions
of those activities to the creation of innovative methods and technologies for
the efficient and sustainable provision of rare earth materials to the domestic
(C) how the plan will promote the
broadest possible participation in those activities by academic, industrial, and
(3) CONSULTATION- In preparing
each plan under paragraph (1), the Secretary of the Interior shall consult with
appropriate representatives of industry, institutions of higher education, Department
of Energy national laboratories, professional and technical societies, and other
entities, as determined by the Secretary.
The plan shall support activities to--
(1) better characterize
and quantify virgin stocks of rare earth materials using theoretical geochemical
(2) explore, discover, and recover rare earth
materials using advanced science and technology;
improve methods for the extraction, processing, use, recovery, and recycling of
rare earth materials;
(4) improve the understanding of
the performance, processing, and adaptability in engineering designs of rare earth
(5) identify and test alternative materials
that can be substituted for rare earth materials in particular applications;
(6) engineer and test applications that--
recycled rare earth materials;
(B) use alternative
(C) seek to minimize rare earth
(7) collect, catalogue, archive,
and disseminate information on rare earth materials, including scientific and
technical data generated by the research and development activities supported
under the plan, and assist scientists and engineers in making the fullest possible
use of the data holdings; and
(8) facilitate information
sharing and collaboration among program participants and stakeholders.
(c) Improved Processes and Technologies- To the maximum extent practicable, the
Secretary of the Interior shall support new or significantly improved processes
and technologies as compared to those currently in use in the rare earth materials
(d) Expanding Participation- The Secretary of the Interior
(1) multidisciplinary collaborations among
participants in activities under the plan; and
opportunities for students at institutions of higher education, including institutions
listed under section 371(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1067q(a)).
(e) Consistency- The plan shall be consistent with the policies and programs in
the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980
(30 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).
(f) International Collaboration- In
carrying out activities under the plan, the Secretary of the Interior may collaborate,
to the extent practicable, on activities of mutual interest with the relevant
agencies of foreign countries with interests relating to rare earth materials.