IN THE NEWS
Earlier this week, President Obama's jobs council released a 49-page report with recommendations on how the Congress can create jobs. One of the central tenants of the report was the call for the federal government to provide more loans, like the one given to the failed solar company Solyndra. Specifically, the jobs council report called for the creation of a new government "financing institution" to spend from $8 up to $40 billion annually to "boost and maintain annual energy investments."
What the jobs council’s report does not mention is that the construction of these clean energy projects requires a vast amount of critical minerals, including copper. For instance, a single three megawatt wind turbine requires 4.7 tons of copper. Renewable energy production from solar, wind, geothermal and other technologies depend heavily on copper to transmit the energy they generate. Hybrid vehicles require double the amount of copper as gas-fueled automobiles.
According to a January 2011 United States Geological Survey report, the United States currently imports over 30 percent of the country’s copper demand. The same study affirms that domestic copper production decreased five percent in 2010 alone. The demand for copper continues to increase due to the call for additional alternative energy infrastructure and other construction needs across the country. Just as relying on foreign oil imports threatens national security, relying on foreign copper suppliers also potentially threatens U.S. industry. The United States must use domestic resources to meet that growing demand.
WHAT ARE REPUBLICANS DOING?
Instead of putting forth proposals to spend the country into bankruptcy, House Republicans are advocating for initiatives that will facilitate private-sector job growth while concurrently decreasing the country’s dependence on foreign mineral resources. Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has introduced, and the House Natural Resources Committee has approved, H.R.1904, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011. H.R. 1904 would authorize a land exchange that opens up the third largest undeveloped copper resource in the world. The project could produce enough copper to equal 25 percent of the current U.S. demand.
Before now, Democrats have held up domestic copper mining, allowing over 30 percent of our copper needs to come from overseas exports. The project authorized in H.R. 1904 could facilitate the creation of 3,700 jobs, equating to $220.5 million in annual wages. According to a recent economic study, the total economic impact of the project is estimated to be over $61.4 billion, or nearly $1 billion per year, and another $20 billion in federal, state, county and local tax revenue. The legislation could yield these economic benefits without taxpayers footing the bill. In short, H.R. 1904 costs the federal government nothing but returns much in the form of raw copper ore, jobs and revenues.
For questions or further information contact Sarah Makin