U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that the Department of the Interior will spend $74 million to map areas with potential to produce critical minerals as part of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Mapping Resources Initiative (Earth MRI). The majority of that funding — $64 million — is made possible by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA), that Senator Murkowski helped draft, negotiate and enact into law. This investment will be distributed among 30 states, including Alaska.

“Allowing America to continue to depend on foreign minerals is not only a risk to our national security, but also an impediment to our ability to maintain a strong domestic supply chain. I have worked diligently to educate my colleagues and the administration on the vast potential of states like Alaska and the importance of allowing us to use the resources that are in our own backyard. I am proud that the funding I helped secure through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act brings us one step closer to that goal,” said Senator Murkowski. “By improving research and data on critical minerals, we will be able to better identify locations in the United States that offer the best opportunities for responsible resource production. We will also improve our ability to harvest these resources in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way possible. I will continue to use my leadership in the Senate to help ensure that America’s critical mineral supply chains are robust and responsibly produced for the good of every American who depends on them.

For more information on Earth MRI, click here.

For more information on the initiatives this funding will support, follow the links below.

Background: As a resource-developing state, Alaska has immense potential locally, nationally and globally. But, despite growing interest in bringing domestic resources to market, America continues to rely on foreign countries to meet our oil, gas and mineral needs. This announcement builds on Senator Murkowski’s diligent efforts to lead policy initiatives to create greater opportunities for U.S. energy and critical minerals markets. Recognizing that clearance times in the United States are among the longest in the world, in April 2021, Murkowski introduced legislation to improve the quality and timeliness of federal licensing and review processes with respect to the production of critical minerals on federal lands. Parts of this legislation have been passed into law IIJAwhich will improve the speed and efficiency of permitting critical mining projects, such as the graphite development project near Nome, cobalt in the Ambler region or rare earths in the southeast.

Senator Murkowski also delivered a speech in the U.S. Senate expressing concern about the Biden administration’s direction on energy security, citing damaging actions such as the banning of additional federal lands and waters. During her speech, she raised concerns about America’s dependence on foreign nations to meet our resource needs and stressed the importance of enabling responsible resource development in the United States. . She then presented the Strategic Energy and Minerals Initiative (SEMI) Act in May 2021. His bill allows U.S. businesses to be more competitive in global markets by promoting responsible domestic production of oil, gas, and minerals. The bill positions the United States to be competitive in global energy and critical mineral markets by supporting a comprehensive energy strategy, fending off multilateral development banks that restrict fossil fuel and coal development, and promoting energy and mineral exports.

Within the IIJASen. Murkowski helped secure language that makes critical mining development projects eligible for the DOE’s Title 17 Loan Guarantee to receive funding.