H.R. 952 (112th): Energy Critical Elements Renewal Act of 2011

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Mar 08, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 952

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 8, 2011

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

A BILL

To develop an energy critical elements program, to amend the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Energy Critical Elements Renewal Act of 2011.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Definitions.

Title I—Energy Critical Elements

Sec. 101. Energy critical elements program.

Sec. 102. Policy Coordination Committee.

Sec. 103. Rare earth materials loan guarantee program.

Title II—National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research, and Development

Sec. 201. Amendments to National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980.

Sec. 202. Repeal.

2.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Appropriate Congressional committees

The term appropriate Congressional committees means the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate.

(2)

Center

The term Center means the Research and Development Information Center established in section 101(b).

(3)

Department

The term Department means the Department of Energy.

(4)

Energy critical element

The term energy critical element means any of a class of chemical elements that are critical to one or more new, energy-related technologies such that a shortage of such element would significantly inhibit large-scale deployment of technologies that produce, transmit, store, or conserve energy.

(5)

Rare earth materials

The term rare earth materials means any of the following chemical elements in any of their physical forms or chemical combinations:

(A)

Scandium.

(B)

Yttrium.

(C)

Lanthanum.

(D)

Cerium.

(E)

Praseodymium.

(F)

Neodymium.

(G)

Promethium.

(H)

Samarium.

(I)

Europium.

(J)

Gadolinium.

(K)

Terbium.

(L)

Dysprosium.

(M)

Holmium.

(N)

Erbium.

(O)

Thulium.

(P)

Ytterbium.

(Q)

Lutetium.

(6)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.

I

Energy Critical Elements

101.

Energy critical elements program

(a)

Establishment of program

(1)

In general

There is established in the Department a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application to assure the long-term, secure, and sustainable supply of energy critical elements sufficient to satisfy the national security, economic well-being, and industrial production needs of the United States.

(2)

Program activities

The program shall support activities to—

(A)

better characterize and quantify virgin stocks of energy critical elements using theoretical geochemical research;

(B)

explore, discover, and recover energy critical elements using advanced science and technology;

(C)

improve methods for the extraction, processing, use, recovery, and recycling of energy critical elements;

(D)

improve the understanding of the performance, processing, and adaptability in engineering designs of energy critical elements;

(E)

identify and test alternative materials that can be substituted for energy critical elements in particular applications; and

(F)

engineer and test applications that—

(i)

use recycled energy critical elements;

(ii)

use alternative materials; or

(iii)

seek to minimize energy critical element content.

(3)

Improved processes and technologies

To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall support new or significantly improved processes and technologies as compared to those currently in use in the energy critical elements industry.

(4)

Expanding participation

The Secretary shall encourage multidisciplinary collaborations of participants, extensive opportunities for students at institutions of higher education, or both.

(5)

Consistency

The program shall be consistent with the policies and programs in the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 (30 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).

(6)

International collaboration

In carrying out the program, the Secretary may collaborate, to the extent practicable, on activities of mutual interest with the relevant agencies of foreign countries with interests relating to energy critical elements.

(b)

Research and Development Information Center

(1)

In general

To collect, catalogue, disseminate, and archive information on energy critical elements, the Secretary shall establish, through a competitive process, a Research and Development Information Center.

(2)

Center activities

(A)

In general

The Center shall—

(i)

serve as the repository for scientific and technical data generated by the research and development activities funded under this section;

(ii)

assist scientists and engineers in making the fullest possible use of the Center’s data holdings;

(iii)

seek and incorporate other information on energy critical elements to enhance the Center’s utility for program participants and other users;

(iv)

provide advice to the Secretary concerning the research and development program under subsection (a); and

(v)

host conferences, at least annually, for participants in the energy critical elements program and other interested parties to promote information sharing and encourage new collaborative activities.

(B)

Restriction

Not more than 2.5 percent of the amounts made available pursuant to this section may be used for hosting conferences under subparagraph (A)(v).

(c)

Plan

(1)

In general

Within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act and biennially thereafter, the Secretary shall prepare and submit to the appropriate Congressional committees a plan to carry out the program established under subsection (a) and the Center established under subsection (b).

(2)

Specific requirements

The plan shall include a description of—

(A)

the research and development activities to be carried out by the program during the subsequent 2 years;

(B)

the expected contributions of the program and the Center to the creation of innovative methods and technologies for the efficient and sustainable provision of energy critical elements to the domestic economy;

(C)

the technical criteria to be used to evaluate applications for loan guarantees under section 1706 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005;

(D)

any projects receiving loan guarantee support under such section and the status of such projects;

(E)

how the program is promoting the broadest possible participation by academic, industrial, and other contributors; and

(F)

actions taken or proposed that reflect recommendations from the assessment conducted under subsection (d) or the Secretary’s rationale for not taking action pursuant to any recommendation from such assessment for plans submitted following the completion of the assessment under such subsection.

(3)

Consultation

In preparing each plan under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consult with appropriate representatives of industry, institutions of higher education, Department of Energy national laboratories, professional and technical societies, and other entities, as determined by the Secretary.

(d)

Assessment

(1)

In general

After the program has been in operation for 4 years, the Secretary shall offer to enter into a contract with the National Academy of Sciences under which the National Academy shall conduct an assessment of the program under subsection (a), including the operations and activities of the Center under subsection (b).

(2)

Inclusions

The assessment shall include the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences that the program should be—

(A)

continued, accompanied by a description of any improvements needed in the program; or

(B)

terminated, accompanied by a description of the lessons learned from the execution of the program.

(3)

Availability

The assessment shall be made available to Congress and the public upon completion.

(e)

Authorization of appropriations

(1)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this section the following sums:

(A)

For fiscal year 2012, $10,000,000.

(B)

For fiscal year 2013, $15,000,000.

(C)

For fiscal year 2014, $15,000,000.

(D)

For fiscal year 2015, $15,000,000.

(E)

For fiscal year 2016, $15,000,000.

(2)

Assessment

From the amounts authorized under paragraph (1), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $700,000 to enter into a contract under subsection (d)(1).

(3)

Availability

Such sums shall remain available until expended.

102.

Supply of energy critical elements

The President, acting through the Office of Science and Technology Policy, shall—

(1)

coordinate the actions of applicable Federal agencies to promote an adequate and stable supply of energy critical elements necessary to maintain national security, economic well-being, and industrial production with appropriate attention to a long-term balance between resource production, energy use, a healthy environment, natural resources conservation, and social needs;

(2)

identify energy critical elements and establish early warning systems for supply problems of energy critical elements;

(3)

establish a mechanism for the coordination and evaluation of Federal programs with energy critical element needs, including programs involving research and development, in a manner that complements related efforts carried out by the private sector and other domestic and international agencies and organizations;

(4)

promote and encourage private enterprise in the development of an economically sound and stable domestic energy critical elements supply chain;

(5)

promote and encourage the recycling of energy critical elements, taking into account the logistics, economic viability, environmental sustainability, and research and development needs for completing the recycling process;

(6)

assess the need for and make recommendations concerning the availability and adequacy of the supply of technically trained personnel necessary for energy critical elements research, development, extraction, and industrial production, with a particular focus on the problem of attracting and maintaining high quality professionals for maintaining an adequate supply of energy critical elements; and

(7)

report to Congress on activities and findings under this subsection.

103.

Rare earth materials loan guarantee program

(a)

Amendment

Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16511 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

1706.

Temporary program for rare earth materials revitalization

(a)

In general

As part of the program established in section 101 of the Energy Critical Elements Renewal Act of 2011, the Secretary is authorized to make guarantees under this title for the commercial application of new or significantly improved technologies (compared to technologies currently in use in the United States) for the following categories of projects:

(1)

The separation and recovery of rare earth materials from ores or other sources.

(2)

The preparation of rare earth materials in oxide, metal, alloy, or other forms needed for national security, economic well-being, or industrial production purposes.

(3)

The application of rare earth materials in the production of improved—

(A)

magnets;

(B)

batteries;

(C)

refrigeration systems;

(D)

optical systems;

(E)

electronics; and

(F)

catalysis.

(4)

The application of rare earth materials in other uses, as determined by the Secretary.

(b)

Timeliness

The Secretary shall seek to minimize delay in approving loan guarantee applications, consistent with appropriate protection of taxpayer interests.

(c)

Cooperation

To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall cooperate with appropriate private sector participants to achieve a complete rare earth materials production capability in the United States within 5 years after the date of enactment of the Energy Critical Elements Renewal Act of 2011.

(d)

Sunset

The authority to enter into guarantees under this section shall expire on September 30, 2019.

.

(b)

Table of contents amendment

The table of contents for the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1705 the following new item:

Sec. 1706. Temporary program for rare earth materials revitalization.

.

II

National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research, and Development

201.

Amendments to National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980

(a)

Program Plan

Section 5 of the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980 (30 U.S.C. 1604) is amended—

(1)

by striking date of enactment of this Act each place it appears and inserting date of enactment of the Energy Critical Elements Renewal Act of 2011;

(2)

in subsection (b), by striking Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology and inserting National Science and Technology Council,;

(3)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

by striking the Federal Emergency and all that follows through Agency, and;

(B)

by striking appropriate shall and inserting appropriate, shall;

(C)

by striking paragraph (1);

(D)

in paragraph (2), by striking in the case and all that follows through subsection,

(E)

by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (1);

(F)

by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (2); and

(G)

by amending paragraph (2), as redesignated, to read as follows:

(2)

assess the adequacy and stability of the supply of materials necessary to maintain national security, economic well-being, and industrial production.

;

(4)

by striking subsections (d) and (e); and

(5)

by redesignating subsection (f) as subsection (d).

(b)

Policy

Section 3 of such Act (30 U.S.C. 1602) is amended—

(1)

by striking The Congress declares that it and inserting It; and

(2)

by striking The Congress further declares that implementation and inserting Implementation.

(c)

Implementation

Section 4 of such Act (30 U.S.C. 1603) is amended—

(1)

by striking For the purpose and all that follows through declares that the and inserting The; and

(2)

by striking departments and agencies, and inserting departments and agencies to implement the policies set forth in section 3.

202.

Repeal

Title II of Public Law 98–373 (30 U.S.C. 1801; 98 Stat. 1248), also known as the National Critical Materials Act of 1984, is repealed.