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Markey Raises Concerns About China Blocking Rare Earth Mineral Shimpments to U.S.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, sent a letter to key Obama administration officials today asking for more information about reports that China is blocking shipments of rare earth minerals to the United States.

The letter is addressed to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Markey asks whether the administration has determined whether China is in fact blocking rare earth mineral exports to the United States (China has denied the reports) and what implications a a shortage of the minerals would have on national security and clean energy technology. Rare earth minerals are used in key military communications and smart bomb technology as well as in wind turbines and hybrid vehicles.

Markey also said he was planning on having a hearing on the issue.

For background on the rare earth mineral issue, see the following posts:

Obama Administration Says It Will Investigate China’s Green Tech Trade Policies

China Dismisses U.S. Investigation of Its Green Tech Trade Policies as Midterm Politicking

Report: China Blocking Rare Earth Mineral Shipments to U.S.

DOD Near Completion of Report on Military’s Use of Rare Earth Minerals

Here’s the letter, via The Hill.

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