Press Release

ALEC Releases “Dig It! Rare Earth and Uranium Mining Potential in the States”

Kaitlyn Buss

ALEC Releases “Dig It! Rare Earth and Uranium Mining Potential in the States”  

In-depth report details the economic impact of mineral resource development

Washington, DC – (December 17, 2o12) The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has released a report exploring the strategic and economic importance of mineral resource development to the United States. Dig It! Rare Earth and Uranium Mining Potential in the States details rare earth and uranium mining reserves and production, reviews permitting and regulatory hurdles, estimates the economic benefit of developing reserves, and highlights the safety and environmental track record of mining. Rare earth and uranium are crucial to our everyday life in the United States, from iPhones to advanced medical support to defense equipment. Uranium fuels 20 percent of our electricity.

ALEC’s research found that states with rare earths and uranium resources could benefit by more than $40 billion in increased economic development, add nearly 9,000 good paying jobs, and improve their state revenue by almost $2 billion, with no change to tax rates or the imposition of new taxes.

“Our nation’s economy continues to struggle, making budgeting decisions at the state level all the more difficult,” said Todd Wynn, Director of ALEC’s Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force. “Those states blessed with an abundance of mineral resources stand to gain from expanding domestic production, immediately benefiting their state economy and budget.”

One such state that could stand to benefit from such mining is Virginia, which has had a moratorium on uranium mining for over thirty years.  Dig It!‘s research finds that if the moratorium was lifted, Virginia would see an increase in state GSP of $7 billion and an increase in state revenue by $500 million.

Obtaining the permits and approvals needed to develop a mine in the United States takes an average of seven years, which is among the longest wait times in the world. Countries like Canada and Australia, with comparable environmental laws, take about two years. If permitting processes are rationalized and rare earth and uranium resources become fully developed in the states, thousands of direct mining jobs could be created.

For a full list of ALEC’s reports, visit


ALEC is a non-profit, nonpartisan association of over 2,000 state legislators that works to promote principles of free markets, limited government and federalism throughout the states.