Editor's Note: This piece was coauthored by Ann Bridges.
As we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, let us view it from a 21st century perspective.
Many of the colonists’ grievances against King George III resonate today, as tyrannical environmentalists continue to block domestic development of minerals that are critical for our businesses, security and living standards. To protect our freedoms, we have updated that revered 1776 statement, to highlight and upend the status quo.
A Declaration of Mineral Independence
of and for the People of the United States of America
from tyrannical environmentalist organizations,
with a goal of full mineral independence by the 250th Anniversary
of America’s first Declaration of Independence, July 4, 2026
WE still hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men and Women are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator and protected by our Constitution with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, which require access to the minerals that make modern societies, defense and other technologies, health and living standards possible.
To secure these rights, our Government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed, and whenever our Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter, abolish or institute new laws.
This declaration of the need for change is not due to light or transient causes. Unfortunately, many of our citizens and businesses are more disposed to avoid conflict or start over elsewhere, than to change the status quo, even while suffering under its ill effects.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations by non-elected agents of the Government and Environmentalist Non-Government Organizations (ENGOs) creates legal despotism under the guise of wildly inflated risks, distorted scientific analyses, willful ignorance, and dire predictions of catastrophic climate and environmental disasters, it is our right and duty to throw off such laws and regulations and provide new safeguards for personal, economic and national security.
The ENGOs’ enormous wealth, fundraising ability and political influence rightfully categorizes them as a major industry of similar stature as their named “enemies” – including the fossil fuel, mining and manufacturing industries that provide essential energy, basic building blocks and products for life, defense, security and pursuit of happiness.
Our Nation now unnecessarily imports numerous critical minerals, creating a dangerous dependence on foreign and sometimes unfriendly nations, some of which pay little attention to American laws and standards regarding environmental protection, child labor, and worker wages, safety and health.
The global environmentalist industry has a long history of imposing its narrow agendas with little regard for the overall well-being of our nation and its citizenry. It instead seeks to assert control over our mining and other businesses and those enterprises’ ability to raise and maintain the security and living standards of every American citizen through fair commerce between willing customers and providers.
The facts speak for themselves.
Environmentalist NGOs driving our policies, laws and regulations have accepted billions of dollars a year from U.S. and foreign individuals, foundations, corporations and government agencies. They use those funds to advance their own global interests and those of their sponsors, to the detriment of American industries, businesses, communities and families.
They have forced American taxpayers to spend billions of dollars for little or no environmental benefit, without the consent of our legislatures or citizenry, thereby subjecting us to foreign and domestic powers that are unaccountable to the American people, our elected representatives, our laws or our Constitution.
They have taken advantage of legal protections designed for nonprofit charities, to ensure they are treated as being above laws crafted for the public good, including honesty in public statements.
They have made themselves the dominant and dominating interested parties in local, regional and national environmental reviews, permit issuances and enforcement actions. They demand endless meetings and reviews, often in places far from the locale of the affected businesses, in order to delay, bankrupt, shutter or destroy projects that would responsibly develop our nation’s mineral endowment.
They have repeatedly used their power and wealth to influence and obstruct legislative, regulatory and judicial processes against properly and ethically operated businesses and projects, interfered with property rights, and disrupted fair debate over these matters.
They have blocked access to vast acreage through land withdrawals and legal actions, preventing a determination of the highest and best use of areas likely to contain mineral resources vital to our nation’s defense, communication, transportation, medical, energy and other advanced technologies – even though innovative modern processes can simultaneously protect the environment and human health, while reaping the wealth of our lands to further the well-being of our technologically advanced society.
They have demanded new laws, regulations and ever-more stringent standards that industries must meet, despite their proven ability and commitment to be responsible environmental stewards, even though existing laws require that environmental and mineral development interests be balanced.
They ignore the fundamental reality that it takes many years or decades to find and develop economically recoverable deposits of strategic minerals, leaving our nation severely vulnerable in the event of a crisis.
This has resulted in:
- Excessive permits, licenses, approvals and oversight that chill investment in our country’s own mineral resources, mining operations and manufacturing industries;
- Higher costs for materials, goods and services, because of our unnecessarily importing minerals from foreign suppliers; and
- Unelected regulators deciding legal interpretations and disputes, levying financial penalties, and creating approval processes that are too time-consuming and expensive for all but the wealthiest companies and citizens to bear.
Environmentalist NGOs have declared war on our nation’s businesses and citizens who seek to find, develop and utilize America’s bounteous mineral endowment to support our defense, living standards and national interests.
This single-minded pursuit of environmental preservation at all costs has harmed our communities and shackled the lives, livelihoods, ambitions and property rights of our people.
At every stage, businesses and individuals have petitioned for redress, but their petitions have been answered only by mockery and continued injury.
Any special-interest group whose character is thus marked as tyrannical is unfit to be the primary arbiter of choices of a free people.
We have warned our fellow citizens of the foolishness of ceding their future to this elitist minority. We have reminded them of laws intended to protect our access to vital raw materials. We have appealed to their sense of justice and endeavored to create workable solutions. Environmentalist NGOs have been deaf to anything that does not advance their overarching dominance over America’s future.
It is essential that we adopt a sense of urgency and declare our mineral independence, to become self-reliant again. It is crucial that we stop depending on other countries to provide mineral resources that we have in abundance, that are needed for our economic prosperity and national security, and that can be developed with proper attention to air, water, wildlife and other environmental values.
Therefore, we solemnly declare that these United States ought to be free and independent again; that we are absolved from the dictates and bullying of Environmentalist NGOs, their representatives and their funders; and that political obligations to them should be dissolved.
Our businesses and citizens must have full power to explore, develop and mine on federally managed lands, under responsible modern environmental, health and safety standards; establish secure commercial supply chains; and function as independent businesses and individuals under the laws of these United States of America.
We will work tirelessly to implement this Declaration of Mineral Independence, at the federal, state and local level, to ensure the continued freedom and prosperity of this Great Nation.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of many articles on the environment. Ann Bridges is the Silicon Valley-based author of “Rare Mettle” and co-author of “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence.”
Editor's note: This column has been updated.