Senate Western Caucus Raises Alarm About New Permitting Rule that Would Further Beholden America to China

November 15, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Western Caucus Chair Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Vice Chair Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and 20 of their colleagues sent a letter to the Executive Director of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) demanding the council rescind its proposal to limit the type of mining projects eligible for the improved permitting process established under Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41). The proposed rule will limit domestic mining and undermine America’s national security by allowing China to dominate a wide array of critical minerals that are intricate to our nation’s manufacturing, energy, infrastructure and defense sectors. 

“Permitting delays have been, and continue to be, one of the most significant risks to meeting domestic mineral production goals – a fact clearly recognized by FPISC in 2021,” the senators wrote. “FPISC should be doing all it can to facilitate the addition of mining projects to the FPISC dashboard of covered projects, as significant investments are being made daily in such projects, regardless of the type of minerals being mined. Unfortunately, this misguided and shortsighted proposal disincentivizes such investment.”

Senate Western Caucus members John Barrasso (R-WY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Jim Risch (R-ID), Roger Marshall (R-KS), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) joined Lummis and Sullivan in sending the letter. 

Click here to read the full letter. 


  • Demand for minerals to build electric vehicle batteries is expected to increase by more than 30x by 2040 due to the Biden administration’s Green New Deal inspired mandates. 
  • The current permitting process for mines is already so lengthy that it is estimated to take more than 20 years to open a new project.
    • A new mining project started today will not be open by 2040 when demand has increased 30x unless the permitting process is reformed.
  • The bureaucratic backlog has allowed China to dominate the global mineral industry.
    • China is the leading supplier for 16 critical minerals and 25 other minerals that America depends on.