H.R. 1022, Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2014

H.R. 1022

Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2014

Sponsor
Rep. Eric Swalwell

Date
July 22, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 1022, the Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act of 2014, as amended, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 1022 was introduced on March 6, 2013 by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and referred to the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Bill Summary

Title I of H.R. 1022 establishes the creation of the Energy Critical Elements Program, a research, development, and commercial application program under the Department of Energy (DOE). The program is designed to assure that the long-term, secure, and sustainable supply of energy critical elements is sufficient to satisfy the national security, economic well-being, and industrial production needs of the United States.  Energy critical elements are defined as any class of chemical elements that have a high risk of a supply disruption and are critical to one or more new, energy-related technologies.  The program is authorized for $25 million for each fiscal year until fiscal year 2019.  To carry out the Program, H.R. 1022 authorizes the Secretary to maintain a Critical Materials Energy Innovation Center, which would: 1) serve as the repository for scientific and technical data generated by the research and development activities funded under the Program; 2) assist scientists and engineers in making the fullest possible use of the Center’s data holdings; 3) serve as a clearinghouse for other information on energy critical elements to enhance the Center’s utility for program participants; 4) advise the Secretary on the Program; and 5) host conferences to promote information sharing and encourage collaborative activities.[1]

Moreover, Title I requires the National Science and Technology Council to: 1) promote an adequate and stable supply of energy critical elements; 2) identify energy critical elements and establish early warning systems for supply problems; 3) establish a mechanism for the coordination and evaluation of Federal programs with energy critical element needs; 4) promote an encourage private enterprise in the development of a stable domestic critical elements supply chain; 5) promote the recycling of energy critical elements; 6) assess the need for trained personnel for energy critical elements research, development, extraction, and production; and 7) report to Congress on the progress and findings of the program.

Title II of H.R. 1022 amends the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research, and Development Act of 1980 to: 1) instruct the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate federal materials research and development through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC); 2) modify the duties of the Secretary of Commerce regarding critical needs assessment; and 3) repeal specified duties of the Secretaries of Defense and the Interior.  Finally, this legislation repeals the National Critical Materials Act of 1984.

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[1] No more than 2.5 percent of the amounts made available may be used for hosting conference.

Background

Rare earth elements or REEs (which include 17 different elements) have a variety of uses, including use in: automobile and petroleum refining catalysts; phosphors in color television and flat panel displays (including cell phones and laptops); permanent magnets and rechargeable batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; medical devices; and numerous defense applications (including jet fighter engines, missile guidance systems, antimissile defense, and satellite and communications systems).[2]  Aside from limited recycling, the United States is nearly 100% reliant on the import of REEs.[3]  While the global demand for REEs is growing significantly, China holds a near-monopoly on REE production (China currently produces about 97 percent of the world’s REEs and 50 percent of the world’s reserves).[4]  This legislation will help the U.S. develop the expertise and production capability to ensure that the supply of REEs remains secure and stable.

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[2] Marc Humphries, “Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply Chain,” Congressional Research Service (Dec. 16, 2013), at 2.
[3] Id. at 1.
[4] Id. at 9 and figure 4.

Cost

This legislation would authorize $25 million per fiscal year for FY 2015-2019, which is consistent with House-passed appropriations levels.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.