Rebuilding America’s energy security one mineral at a time

The United States and our allies across the world have responded forcefully to Russia’s war against
through sanctions, economic measures, lethal aid, and a ban on Russian
, coal, and gas. While these responses have been effective, they also exposed a truth known to American energy industry insiders and national security leaders: The U.S. is currently dependent on Russia and its allies for our

Uranium is used in U.S. technology and healthcare industries, and it fuels commercial nuclear energy facilities, providing 20% of the energy that powers homes and businesses. It also powers a major portion of the U.S. Naval fleet.

Instead of mining and producing uranium here in the U.S., our country has increased its reliance on foreign sources. This dependency has left people less secure, contributed to the sky-high cost of energy, and surrendered geopolitical leverage to those who don’t put America’s interests first. That is why we are introducing the bipartisan “Critical Minerals Classification Improvement Act” to spur domestic mining, strengthen our domestic critical mineral supply, and decrease our reliance on Russia and other foreign actors. Our legislation will help restore uranium’s critical mineral definition and require the
Department of the Interior
to reconsider its unwise decision to leave it off the 2022 U.S. Geological Survey critical mineral list, despite being classified as critical in 2018.

As with essentially every energy product in America, progressive policies have led to an impossible situation for uranium producers. Nuclear energy produced in the U.S. is a safe, reliable, and useful base load fuel source. The scale of nuclear energy’s impact is tremendous, with the 93 commercial reactors across the country powering 1 in 5 homes. In addition, all U.S. Navy submarine and aircraft carrier fleets operate using nuclear energy. Until the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Rosatom, the Russian state-owned enterprise in charge of nuclear energy, produced about 20% of the world’s nuclear fuel. America bought about 16% of our total nuclear fuel supply from Russia and another 30% from Russia’s allies in Eurasia.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration is intent on allowing foreign nations, even strategic competitors, such as
, and
, to dominate the energy industry and make people rely on expensive imports instead of producing domestically. American companies operate with the highest global standards in worker and environmental safety, but domestic producers are discouraged by onerous regulations that make it nearly impossible to mine for uranium and process critical minerals in the country. A foreign-purchased mineral that comes from a country actively waging war in Europe and powers 20% of U.S. households certainly deserves a “critical” designation.

Our nation is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. With these resources, we can supply our own country with secure, affordable, reliable energy while fueling our allies and partners, providing them with the energy security they desperately need in the face of Russian aggression. Members on both sides of the aisle can agree that minerals critical to our nation’s energy future, like uranium, should be included on the critical minerals list because energy security is national security. It’s time Congress and the Biden administration support domestic energy producers of all forms — our bill will do just that.

Dan Newhouse represents Washington’s 4th Congressional District and serves as chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus. August Pfluger represents Texas’s 11th Congressional District.

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