Democrats seek probe of foreign mining on public lands

By Hannah Northey | 05/08/2024 06:53 AM EDT

The request comes as the House prepares to debate a contentious mining bill.

Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) speaks during a hearing.

House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) speaks during a hearing this year. Francis Chung/POLITICO

House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva and a number of other Democrats are planning to ask Congress’ watchdog to investigate the extent to which foreign-controlled companies are extracting minerals from public lands, and whether those entities are complying with U.S. environmental and human rights standards.

Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and five of his colleagues will ask the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday to probe how much is known about foreign investment in mining of federally managed lands, and how closely the federal government tracks exports of minerals extracted from public lands.

“The House Natural Resources Committee has received information that U.S. mineral supply chains lack the necessary oversight and regulation to ensure that U.S. companies are in compliance with U.S. laws,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.


“Additionally, there is evidence that U.S. companies seeking mineral leases on federal lands may be subsidiaries of foreign companies, including adversarial countries, accused of serious human rights and environmental violations,” they wrote.