This piece was originally published in the May 2017 issue of electroindustry.
NEMA President and CEO Kevin J. Cosgriff addressed the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on March 28 to voice the electroindustry perspective on minerals availability and the importance of minerals access for U.S. electrical and medical imaging manufacturers. In his testimony, Mr. Cosgriff emphasized the importance of policies that provide assurance to industry of stable and continuous supply and affordability.
“Electrical manufacturers support the federal role in critical minerals policy, including research and development, as well as minerals information and analysis,” he said. “A balanced minerals policy is important to domestic manufacturing and employment.”
Mr. Cosgriff expressed industry concern over the increasing dependence of the United States on foreign sources of critical minerals, including rare earths and other raw materials. He advocated for access to more secure and price-competitive supplies closer to home, such as countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“Reliance on foreign sourcing of raw and processed rare earth materials remains a point of significant risk depending on the location of that source—for example, China. As our nation accelerates steps to renew the power grid, including deploying grid-scale energy storage, having access to minerals and metals is a fundamental issue.”
Medical imaging patients are also affected by this issue, he added. “NEMA encourages Congress to apply oversight authority to monitor implementation of the American Medical Isotopes Production Act (AMIPA) of 2011, so that patients can get the right scan at the right time.”
“The issue is whether U.S. electroindustry and medical imaging companies will be able to manufacture their valuable products and where they will be able to manufacture them,” Mr. Cosgriff concluded. “Our companies are working to meet the nation’s future needs in energy, healthcare, and transportation. NEMA supports initiatives to improve the prospects that U.S. industry and workers will have access to the minerals, related information, and regulatory environment they need to be globally competitive.”