A bill aimed at keeping American soda ash competitive with a subsidized, synthetic version produced in China is advancing in Washington.
The bill, sponsored by Wyoming congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, got the backing of the full House Resources committee on Wednesday. It will be heard by the full House next.
The bill would return the soda ash royalty to 2 percent. It rose to 6 percent in October.
Soda ash is the trade name for a chemical made from the mineral trona. It's used in household cleaners, windshields and cellphones.
Wyoming produces about 90 percent of U.S. soda ash and the industry employs about 3,000 people in the state. Lummis says soda ash shipments also provide work for hundreds of longshoremen in Portland, Ore. and Port Arthur, Texas.