On Wednesday at a U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Hearing in Washington, D.C. Montana Senator Steve Daines pointed out the importance of bringing back critical manufacturing jobs to Montana from China and other foreign nations.

He referenced a map that contained the countries the U.S. depends on the most.

“Being 100 percent import reliant on China or Russia for materials for our healthcare system, for the energy industry and technology sectors is a national security nightmare,” said Senator Daines. “This next map shows the different countries that we are more than 50 percent reliant on for mineral commodities. You’ll notice that China is the darkest color on the map. It is scary that the United States has gotten to this point.”

Daines explained the chief reason why the United States must depend on these countries for necessary materials.

“When it takes over two decades to permit a mine in the United States like it has for the Rock Creek Mine in Montana, it is no wonder why we are being forced to rely on foreign countries,” he said. “We need to bring these high paying mining jobs back to the United States and back to Montana. In fact, in Montana, the average mining job paid an average of $90,000 a year.”

Daines testified about what these jobs would mean if they could be returned to Montana.

“Increasing our production of critical minerals will create jobs,” he said. “These are high paying jobs that pay twice the state average wage, generate revenue for our rural communities and bolster our national security. Bringing production back to the United States will help insure that we have a steady and reliable system and stream of the critical minerals that are used in our healthcare system and our modern technology every day.”

Republican Daines is running for reelection against Democrat Montana Governor Steve Bullock for the U.S. Senate.