May 11, 2023 - Rich Nolan, President and CEO of the National Mining Association (NMA), will today testify before the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee in a hearing to examine opportunities for Congress to reform the permitting process for energy and mineral projects.
In his testimony, Mr. Nolan described how global mineral and energy demands are soaring, but U.S. “policies are both lagging and impeding production. We must encourage more domestic mining and processing to meet future demand and ensure that the materials required for everything from infrastructure to electrification are readily available from inside our own borders.”
Mr. Nolan’s full testimony can be found here.
Given the ever-evolving legal and regulatory uncertainty around the status of the Federal Coal Leasing Program, Mr. Nolan outlined the extensive energy and economic contributions the program has made to the country in the past decade, producing $7.7 billion in revenue collections by the federal government and providing hundreds of millions of dollars of state and local revenue per year, while also providing a low cost, reliable source of energy for all Americans and material for steel manufacturing. He also highlighted the need to address the rapid premature retirements of the very coal plants that are serving as the foundation of reliability for our transitioning grid, noting the recent testimony of Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners who unanimously agreed that coal is an essential part of today’s grid reliability.
Finally, Mr. Nolan highlighted legislation put forward in this Congress that industry believes can bring meaningful solutions to America’s competitive and economic challenges including the American Energy Security Act, the Spur Permitting of Underdeveloped Resources (SPUR) Act and the Revitalizing the Economy by Simplifying Timelines and Assuring Regulatory Transparency (RESTART) Act. These pieces of legislation include a variety of recommendations including to: set lead agencies to coordinate the permitting process; improve the timeliness of the permitting process through enforceable environmental review and judicial deadlines; maintain access to mineralized federal lands unless specifically withdrawn by Congress; maintain decades of essential mining regulatory practice to not only ensure U.S. competitiveness but to prevent impediments to domestic production; provide more certainty to timing of legal reviews; support a domestic uranium industry for critical nuclear energy production; provide new needed regulatory certainty to the Federal Coal Leasing Program allowing new leasing and lease renewals; protecting reliable electricity generation; and other commonsense provisions.