Week of 04.29.2018

Members Urge Addition of Copper, Zinc & Others to Critical Mineral List

On Thursday, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar D.D.S. (AZ-04), Chief Regulatory Reform Officer Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Western Caucus Member Tom Emmer (MN-06) and the American Exploration & Mining Association released statements after Members of the Western Caucus led an effort supported by 30 Members of Congress and endorsed by dozens of business representatives, elected officials and resource experts requesting that the final composition of the 'critical minerals' list include aggregates, copper, molybendum, gold, zinc, nickel, lead, silver and certain fertilizer compounds additional to the 35 originally contained in the draft list.

Chairman Paul Gosar stated, "President Trump and Secretary Zinke have done a great thing by opening up the critical mineral designation process and really listening to the input of experts, Congress, industry and members of the public in order to examine the economic and geopolitical ramifications of certain minerals being placed in or excluded from the 'critical minerals' list. This is a list of those minerals that have sensitive international supply chains but are of extreme importance to our economy and national security. The good news is that for so many of the minerals which may be designated 'critical', we enjoy substantial reserves at home. There is no need for the United States to be import-reliant on adversaries and foes for these valuable materials. Today, we ask that those who are making decisions about 'critical' status make sure that obviously-critical minerals like copper, gold, molybdenum, zinc and others make the final list. Given the incredible domestic need for these minerals, it's no exaggeration to say that the very security and stability of our country depend on the United States prioritizing permitting and development for our vast reserves right here in America." 

To see our full press release click HERE. The letter can be seen HERE.

Members of Congress (30) who signed the letter include:
Mark Amodei, Andy Biggs, Dave Brat, Mo Brooks, Ken Buck, Paul Cook, Scott DesJarlais, Jeff Duncan, John Duncan, Tom Emmer, Ron Estes, Greg Gianforte, Louie Gohmert, Paul Gosar, Jody Hice, Duncan Hunter, Raul Labrador, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Alex Mooney, Ralph Norman, Steve Pearce, Scott Perry, Keith Rothfus, David Schweikert, Jason Smith, Lamar Smith, Chris Stewart, Daniel Webster and Ted Yoho

Dam Protection Bill Holds Water on House Floor

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3144 - a bipartisan bill introduced by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Greg Walden (OR-02) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) that protects the operations of the four Lower Snake River Dams in accordance with the best available science - on the floor by a vote of 225-189.

H.R. 3144 seeks to provide certainty for the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) by keeping in place the current bipartisan operations plan and salmon mitigation measures that are consistent with multiple agency processes and opinions developed and approved by the Obama Administration.

House GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers stated, “Dams and fish can coexist, and after more than two decades in the courtroom, let’s let scientists, not judges, manage our river system and get to work to further improve fish recovery efforts. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, our dams provide critical baseload energy to power homes and businesses all across Eastern Washington and the Pacific Northwest. Not only that, they provide transportation and irrigation benefits for our farmers, flood control for our communities, and recreational opportunities that fuel our economy. This isn’t about the merits of protecting salmon, we all agree on that. This is about providing certainty and letting experts and scientists in the region, who know the river best, work collaboratively to meet that goal. I’m proud to usher this legislation through the House.”

See our full press release HERE. A bipartisan dear colleague can be found HERE. Bill text can be found HERE. The Committee Report can be found HERE.




On Thursday, our Members were joined by U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for discussion at the Western Caucus Monthly Member Meeting!

As always, Members and the Secretary had a lively discussion on important issues that matter to our Members and the people they represent. The Secretary also discussed Interior reorganization as well as NEPA and permitting reform.

Reps. Rob Bishop, Paul Gosar, Scott Tipton, Ralph Norman, Jason Smith, Liz Cheney, Dan Newhouse, Don Young, Tom McClintock, Ralph Abraham, Garret Graves, Tom Emmer, Greg Gianforte, Bruce Westerman. Aumua Amata, Rep. Brian Babin, Roger Marshall, M.D., Kurt Schrader, Jody Hice and Mike Johnson were all in attendance!

Pruitt Signs Proposed Rule to End 'Secret Science'

On Tuesday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule to strengthen the science used in regulations issued by EPA. Per the Agency press release, the rule will ensure that the regulatory science underlying Agency actions is fully transparent, and that underlying scientific information is publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent validation.

“The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of rulemaking process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.”

Conservative groups including Freedomworks are lauding the Agency's steps towards requiring new policy be based on publicly-available study and data.

20 Bipartisan Lawmakers Led by Gosar, Bishop & O'Halleran Call for Park Outfitters & Guides Fee Fix

On Friday, a bipartisan group of 20 Members of Congress led by Reps. Paul Gosar, Tom O'Halleran and Rob Bishop signed and sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Acting Director of the National Park Service Paul Daniel Smith requesting that they consider revising the prospectus for the award of new contracts to service-providing entities including outfitters and guides operating within Grand Canyon National Park.

Unfortunately, the National Park Service has issued a prospectus for the award of new contracts that represents a substantial increase in the minimum franchise fee payment - and one that appears inconsistent with the aforementioned Act - from a tiered structure requiring payment of 4% to 18% of certain gross receipts, to one requiring 5% up to 22.5% of gross receipts.

The letter makes clear that, as Members are hearing from multiple contract-holders, the change in franchise fee structure will seriously imperil the sustainability of contract-holding businesses present and future, thereby potentially compromising the ability of park visitors to participate in the many activities and experiences that are dependent on the services of contract-holding businesses.

Chairman Paul Gosar
stated, "It's important that the National Park Service keep in mind that its responsibility is to serving the American people first. Any focus on revenue generation should come only after meeting - and exceeding - that goal. It makes good sense for the Park Service to charge reasonable rates so that service-providers have skin in the game and the best companies win the contracts. What doesn't make sense is for the Park Service to price outfitters and guides out of business by imposing unsustainably high rates. For our Parks visitors to get the full experience they deserve, they invariably need to rely on these service providers. We should empower these passionate small-business owners instead of gouging them out of the market for a little short-term revenue. I'm hopeful that Secretary Zinke and Acting Director Smith respond favorably to this request." 

See the full press release HERE. Click HERE to read the full letter with signatures.

Letter Signers (20)
: Rob Bishop*, Paul Gosar*, Tom O’Halleran*, Brian Babin, Andy Biggs, Liz Cheney, John Curtis, Greg Gianforte, Garret Graves, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Mia Love, Roger Marshall, Martha McSally, Mark Meadows, Kyrsten Sinema, Chris Stewart, Scott Tipton, Bruce Westerman, Ted Yoho


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