At an event Wednesday hosted by RealClearPolitics, Minerals: The Overlooked Foundation of Our Future, a panel of experts discusses how the mining industry is the foundation of our technology, defense, energy, and manufacturing supply chains and absolutely vital to the future.
In partnership with National Mining Association and its Minerals Make Life initiative, RealClearPolitics delved deeply into the public policy questions surrounding the importance of minerals, and how the nation’s manufacturing sector, national defense and even green energy technologies depend on a healthy domestic minerals mining industry.
Steven Fortier, PhD
Dr. Steven M. Fortier is the Director of the National Minerals Information Center at the U.S. Geological Survey. He came to Government after nearly two decades in the mining and mineral processing industries where he held a succession of roles including technical, project management, operations director, and general management with an international industrial minerals company. He is currently serving on a detail as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Science and Technology, in the Executive Office of the President in Washington, DC. His responsibilities there include the role of co-chair of the National Science and Technology Subcommittee on Critical Minerals which is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the U.S. strategy for securing critical mineral supply chains.
Casey Hammond currently serves as Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management overseeing the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement within the Department of the Interior. Casey started with the Department in January 2017 as part of the Administration’s “Beachhead Team” that led the agency following the President's inauguration. Prior to arriving at the Department, he worked in various capacities within the House of Representatives, including as Legislative Staff for the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, Professional Staff for the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, and Senior Advisor for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Casey is from Costa Mesa, CA, later graduating from Brigham Young University and now resides in Virginia.
Drew Horn currently serves as Associate Director of Policy to the Vice President of the United States. In this role, he advises the Vice President on policy decisions, and builds strategies for execution and implementation of US policy by the Executive Branch of the federal government.
Mr. Horn has served in the Trump administration since 2017. Prior his role working for the Vice President, he served as the Chief of Staff and Acting Principal Deputy Assistance Secretary of Energy for the Office of International Affairs at the Department of Energy. Prior to that position, he was the Director of Afghanistan Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Trump administration’s South Asia Strategy.
Before joining the Trump administration, Mr. Horn worked as a management consultant, and before that spent ten years in uniform as a commissioned officer in the United States Military, first as a United States Marine, and then as a Special Forces Officer in the United States Army. He has extensive combat experience in Afghanistan as a commander of a direct-action commando team, and successfully completed three combat deployments to Afghanistan in Special Forces, and one to Iraq as a Marine.
Melissa Simpson was appointed to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) in April 2017. She currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for ENR’s Energy
Transformation office. In this position, she focuses on promoting the continued integration of and fostering demand for renewable and alternative sources of energy, as well as implementation of various White House and Department initiatives. Previously, she served as a senior advisor to the Bureau, where she worked to promote U.S. energy sector exports, open markets, and reduce barriers to energy trade and development.
In her private sector positions, Ms. Simpson advocated at the state and federal level to successfully champion domestic energy security through interagency coordination across the federal government using strategic public diplomacy communications.
Ms. Simpson also has extensive experience serving in senior government positions. As Deputy Under Secretary for Forestry at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Ms. Simpson supervised energy and wildlife policy directives and regulations for the U.S. Forest Service. Prior to that she worked at the Department of the Interior as a Counselor for the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management and Deputy Director of External Affairs, where she developed a regulatory framework for access to public lands
Ms. Simpson is a native Coloradan and graduate of Creighton University School of Law.