Rep. Cook Praises Proposed Rule for Regulatory Relief for Non-Energy Solid Leasable Minerals

By on September 3, 2019
Rep. Paul Cook

Yucaipa’s U.S. Congressman Paul Cook (R-8th District- Apple Valley) commended a proposed rule announced earlier this week by the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) to provide regulatory relief and efficiencies for non-energy solid leasable minerals, including soda ash. The proposed rule will streamline the process for the BLM to administratively reduce royalties collected on soda ash.

A rate reduction will keep U.S. producers competitive and allow U.S. soda ash producers to expand in foreign markets, securing good-paying American mining jobs. The proposed rule is expected to save up to $5 million in regulatory costs over the next decade.

Soda ash is used to manufacture glass and produce chemicals, detergents, paper, and other products. Soda ash also has a critical national security role. It is a key component in cockpit windshields manufactured by the aerospace industry. Soda ash is mined in San Bernardino County among other sites in the country.

“Over the past decade, American soda ash producers have faced significant challenges from foreign, synthetic soda ash producers in China and Turkey,” said Rep. Cook. “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.”

Rep. Cook, who has been a strong advocate for reducing royalties collected on soda ash by the federal government, and has previously introduced legislation to do so, continued he comments saying, “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.”

Aside from the economic benefit, promoting American soda ash is also good for the environment. While American soda ash is found naturally, Chinese soda ash is produced synthetically. Chinese synthetic production uses twice the energy and results in over three times the carbon emissions as natural soda ash production.

Rep. Cook earned two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star during his combat years. He is now a member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services committees. Rep. Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years of service after having attained the rank of Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Rep. Cook maintains a field office in Yucaipa at 34282 Yucaipa Blvd. The Yucaipa office phone number is 909-797-4900; please call prior to visiting the office in order to confirm hours of availability.