Mineworkers deemed critical by Department of Homeland Security

March 31, 2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released its ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure’ list that includes the nation’s mineworkers as essential critical infrastructure workers who are vital to the national effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list is intended to help state, local, tribal and territorial officials as they work to protect their communities while ensuring the continuity of critical functions of public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.

The National Mining Association was one of more than 100 business groups that called for a consistent definition of “critical infrastructure” from the Department of Homeland Security.

The Hill reported that the groups said in a letter to President Trump that a uniform definition would prevent state and local government actions from threatening the supply of critical products.

The list identifies workers “necessary for mining and production of critical minerals, materials and associated essential supply chains” as part of the critical workforce. There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors listed, including healthcare, law enforcement, transportation, and workers in the energy sector.

The NMA applauded the DHS for reiterating that mining is explicitly included in its list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors that should maintain their work schedules to help the response to the coronavirus outbreak. The clarification came in an update to its “Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.”

“Our nation needs stability right now. We need a dependable supply chain for our manufacturing sector. And we need to know that our power sector is secure across the country,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and chief executive officer. “Mining underpins every aspect of our economy, providing the metals, minerals and coal that are essential to nearly every sector identified as critical infrastructure under DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) National Infrastructure Protection Plan. It was gratifying to see DHS reiterate the importance of our industry during this crisis.”

Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21): Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience advances a national policy to strengthen and maintain secure, functioning and resilient critical infrastructure. This directive supersedes Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7.

 

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