A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has introduced a proposal aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on China for rare-earth minerals and other critical materials used to manufacture modern technologies such as cellphones, hybrid vehicles, and missiles.
The bill, named the Reclaiming American Rare Earths (RARE) Act, would provide tax incentives for companies engaged in “mining, reclaiming, or recycling” of critical minerals and metals from deposits in the United States.
According to language in the measure, tax incentives come in the form of tax reductions on properties that are used for these activities, a depreciation deduction on nonresidential properties used, and reductions for individuals who purchase these materials extracted in the United States.
If approved, the bill would require the Secretary of the Interior to establish a grant program that would finance projects for the development of these industries, including $50 million to be appropriated for each of the fiscal years from 2021 to 2024.
The House bill is co-sponsored by five other Texas lawmakers: Republicans Will Hurd, Roger Williams, Pete Olson, Randy Weber, and Democrat Henry Cuellar.
“By decreasing our dependence on China, the RARE Act would strengthen our national security, spur American innovation, grow our economy, and ensure the United States has the resource independence required to cement our leadership in technologies that define the 21st century," Gooden said.
The bill was hailed by Pini Althaus, CEO of investment firm USA Rare Earth, which is developing the Round Top Mountain deposit located east of El Paso, Texas. The deposit contains 16 rare-earth elements and high-tech metals, such as lithium, uranium, and beryllium, according to the company’s website.
“Billions of dollars’ worth of rare earths translates into trillions of dollars of finished goods and hundreds of thousands of jobs. China has understood this for a long time, and as a result, have solidified their stranglehold of the critical minerals supply chain.”