The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, to streamline the permitting process for mining operations.
Earlier this month, H.R. 4402, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2012, passed the House by a vote of 256 to 160.
The bill was the second introduced by Amodei that has passed the House since he was elected in 2011.
In his floor remarks on the bill during testimony on July 11, Amodei said the bill sets a 30-month time limit for the permitting process, unless the applicant agrees to an extension.
“This does nothing to tax law, this does nothing to safety law, this does nothing to supplant NEPA and this does nothing to supplant any state things,” Amodei said.
Oh, really? I wonder why he hasn't said that to communities across this country who will have a more difficult time protecting their natural resources if Amodei's bill becomes law. HR 4402 aims to eliminate strong environmental review of proposed mining projects and prioritize mineral extraction over conservation AND recreation for most federal lands. It's all about speeding up the permit process so mining companies can pump up their profits, even if they make people suffer in the process.
As PLAN warned earlier this year, HR 4402 takes us in the wrong direction on mining policy. It's bad enough that our state allows the mining industry to walk all over us. We'll only make matters worse if we allow for mining to weaken federal regulations necessary to protect communities from unnecessary damage.