Alaska Urges REE Funding in Letter to Obama


"Governor emphasizes the need for funding and permit process improvements."

Gov. Sean Parnell this morning told reporters he'd asked President Barack Obama to commission an assessment of rare earth elements on federal land in Alaska. He's also asked the Legislature for money to study state land.

From a news release that followed his announcement:
"Alaska has already identified some of the most promising REE sites in the nation and we should be working to find more," said Governor Parnell.
Governor Parnell has proposed funding for a comprehensive 3-year project to determine the potential of REEs deposits on state lands. This project will include conducting geologic field work and developing Alaska specific REE mineral-deposit models.

In the letter, Governor Parnell urged President Obama to consider directing the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct a similar inventory and geological field work project on federal lands in Alaska. The governor also urged better coordination in the federal permitting process.
"The federal mine permitting system in the United States ranks as the least efficient or timely of 25 mining countries, with an average time frame of 710 years to deliver a permit," Governor Parnell said. "This compares to Australia where permits are often issued in 12 years. In order to ensure an effective National Environmental Policy Act process, high ranking managers from federal agencies with decision making authority (particularly from the EPA) need to coordinate early and often with each other, permit applicants and state agencies."
Governor Parnell also urged President Obama to work with Congress to review the merits of amending existing federal statutes to provide the U.S. Department of Energy with authority to provide loan guarantees, grants, and tax credits for the general mining and processing of REEs.

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