Press Releases

DelBene, Larsen, Cantwell Welcome Pentagon Report Urging Action to Protect American Aluminum Production

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WASHINGTON, DC, December 20, 2022 | comments

Today, Representatives Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Rick Larsen (WA-02) and Washington Senator Maria Cantwell issued the following statement in response to a Congressionally mandated Defense Department report that highlights the need to bolster domestic aluminum production as a matter of national security. The report concludes that high-purity aluminum is critical to our national defense and that, without federal action, U.S. industry will not be able to meet our national security needs.

“This Pentagon report reaches the same conclusion we’ve all known for too long – that unfair overseas trade practices and foreign dependency have undercut America’s domestic aluminum production capacity and with it thousands of good-paying union jobs. Washington state knows this firsthand from the closure of the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale, where over 700 workers were laid off in 2020.

“In addition to aluminum’s key role in the production of electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels, the report highlights the importance of high purity aluminum for our national security, serving as a critical light-weight metal in many combat vehicles, space launch systems, and aircraft that are used to protect the United States and our allies from enemies.

“We urge the administration to take the conclusions of this report seriously and use the Defense Production Act to rebuild the aluminum industry and bring back union jobs to safely meet our defense needs. Failing to do so would threaten our critical infrastructure and defense capabilities and risk losing more manufacturing jobs.”

Background:

  • The report was mandated by a provision included in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act by DelBene, Larsen, and Cantwell.
  • DelBene, Larsen, and Cantwell have continuously worked to reopen the Intalco facility.
  • When the Intalco plant originally closed, DelBene, Larsen, and Cantwell helped get the 700 laid-off workers training and resources to find new employment.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by Democrats earlier this year, includes key provisions to help U.S. manufacturers decarbonize and regain a level playing field.

The report can be found here.

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