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28th Legislature(2013-2014)

Bill Text 28th Legislature


00 Enrolled SJR 8                                                                                                          
01 Supporting the continued and increased exploration, extraction, processing, and production of                           
02 rare earth elements in the state; and urging the United States Congress to support efforts of the                       
03 state to develop rare earth elements in the state for the benefit of the economic and national                          
04 security of the United States.                                                                                          
05                                          _______________                                                                
06 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                             
07      WHEREAS rare earth elements, those elements consisting of lanthanum through                                      
08 lutetium on the periodic table, plus scandium and yttrium, possess unique chemical, electrical,                         
09 and physical properties that make them indispensable for a wide variety of emerging critical                            
10 technologies needed for defense, clean energy, and other consumer and industrial uses; and                              
11      WHEREAS dysprosium and terbium are among the scarcest, most valuable, and most                                   
12 sought-after rare earth metals needed for green technology and military applications; and                               
13      WHEREAS, in the past, the United States was largely self-sufficient in rare earth                                
14 elements but today has become almost entirely dependent on foreign sources of yttrium,                                  
15 niobium, tantalum, zirconium, and other rare earth elements; and                                                        
16      WHEREAS the value-added technology and skill to allow both the recovery of rare                                  
17 earth elements from mineral forms in ore and the manufacture of finished products, including                            
01 powerful magnets, from rare earth elements has almost entirely migrated to China along with                             
02 the actual mining of rare earth element ores; and                                                                       
03      WHEREAS China currently produces 95 percent of the world's rare earth elements                                   
04 but reduced the export of rare earth elements by 54 percent from 2005 to 2010 and by nearly                             
05 percent from 2010 to 2011; and                                                                                          
06      WHEREAS a future in which manufacturing of high-tech military equipment takes                                    
07 place only outside of the United States poses a risk to national security, and the manufacturing                        
08 of wind turbines, solar panels, advanced batteries, and geothermal steam turbines produced                              
09 only outside of the United States poses a risk to energy security; and                                                  
10      WHEREAS the development and expansion of extraction, processing, refining, and                                   
11 production are needed to provide the United States with self-reliance in technologies that                              
12 depend on rare earth elements; and                                                                                      
13      WHEREAS mineral resources make up a major portion of the state's economic assets,                                
14 and the deposits discovered at Bokan Mountain on the southern end of Prince of Wales Island                             
15 are rich in the heavy rare earth elements of europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium,                                 
16 thulium, holmium, erbium, ytterbium, lutetium, and yttrium; and                                                         
17      WHEREAS the Bokan Mountain deposits are the only known deposits in the world                                     
18 that have deep water access, accessible labor, and prospective power sources; and                                       
19      WHEREAS the Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan                                            
20 designates the Bokan Mountain area for mineral development, and the state's Prince of Wales                             
21 Island Area Plan classifies the Kendrick Bay area for mineral and forestry access and                                   
22 development; and                                                                                                        
23      WHEREAS economic opportunities on Prince of Wales Island and throughout the                                      
24 state have significantly decreased; and                                                                                 
25      WHEREAS increased exploration for rare earth elements along with the                                             
26 establishment of secondary processing and research facilities related to rare earth elements in                         
27 the state will create new career opportunities for Alaskans; and                                                        
28      WHEREAS development of rare earth element deposits in the state is critical to the                               
29 economic and military security of the state and the nation;                                                             
30      BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature supports the continued and                                      
31 increased exploration, extraction, processing, and production of rare earth elements in the                             
01 state; and be it                                                                                                        
02      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges agencies that                                           
03 administer permits required for the development of the rare earth elements in the state to                              
04 expedite consideration and issuance of permits required for the development of rare earth                               
05 element deposits in the state; and be it                                                                                
06      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States                                       
07 Geological Survey, the United States Department of Commerce, and the United States                                      
08 Department of Defense to work closely with the governor and the director of the division of                             
09 geological and geophysical surveys in the Department of Natural Resources to explore for and                            
10 identify deposits of rare earth elements in the state, develop an information database on rare                          
11 earth elements in the state, and promote the development of the rare earth elements extraction,                         
12 processing, and production industry in the state; and be it                                                             
13      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the United States                                       
14 Congress to support the efforts of the state to develop rare earth elements in the state for the                        
15 benefit of the economic and national security of the United States.                                                     
16      COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Barack Obama, President of                              
17 the United States; the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice-President of the United States and                          
18 President of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Sally Jewell, United States Secretary of the                                
19 Interior; the Honorable Chuck Hagel, United States Secretary of Defense; the Honorable John                             
20 Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives; the Honorable Nancy Pelosi,                                      
21 Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives; the Honorable Harry Reid, Majority                                
22 Leader of the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader of the U.S.                                   
23 Senate; the Honorable Ron Wyden, Chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee of                                 
24 the U.S. Senate; the Honorable Lisa Murkowski and the Honorable Mark Begich, U.S.                                       
25 Senators, and the Honorable Don Young, U.S. Representative, members of the Alaska                                       
26 delegation in Congress; and all other members of the 113th United States Congress.                                      
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