Rep. Cook Applauds BLM Proposed Rule to Streamline Royalty Rate Reduction Process for Non-Energy Solid Minerals Mined on Public Lands
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) applauded the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement today of a proposed rule to provide much needed regulatory relief and efficiencies for non-energy solid leasable minerals, including soda ash. The proposed rule is expected to save up to $5 million in regulatory costs over the next decade.
Specifically, the rule will streamline the process for the BLM to administratively reduce royalties collected on soda ash. A rate reduction will keep US producers competitive and allow U.S. soda ash producers to expand in foreign markets, securing good-paying American mining jobs.
Rep. Cook has been a strong advocate for reducing royalties collected on soda ash by the federal government and has previously introduced legislation to do so. Soda ash is used to manufacture glass and produce chemicals, detergents, paper, and other products. Soda ash also has a critical national security role as a key component in cockpit windshields manufactured by the aerospace industry.
Aside from the economic benefit, promoting American soda ash is good for the environment. While American soda ash is found naturally, Chinese soda ash is produced synthetically. Chinese synthetic production uses twice the energy, which results in over three times the carbon emissions as natural soda ash production.
Rep. Cook said, “Over the past decade, American soda ash producers have faced significant challenges from foreign, synthetic soda ash producers in China and Turkey. Sodium carbonate production is a $1.8 billion industry which provides hundreds of jobs to my constituents in Trona and thousands more to hardworking Americans across the nation. The previous administration chose to triple the federal royalty rate for soda ash, severely impacting its production. More recently, Trona has been significantly damaged by major earthquakes, causing serious disruptions to local industry. This important rule sets the stage for rapid relief that will protect and expand mining jobs, strengthen our national security, and help local soda ash producers in my district recover from a devastating natural disaster. I thank the BLM and the Administration for taking action to support this critical industry.”
A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.