Issue Date: July 23, 2012
Rare-Earth Mining Bill Passes House
Opening a rare-earth mine will be easier under a bill (H.R. 4402) that passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. The bill would classify a domestic mine that provides strategic and critical minerals as an “infrastructure project” and require the relevant federal oversight agency to streamline mining permits and allow state environmental laws to stand in for federal laws. It would also limit lawsuits challenging the mine to 60 days after a federal decision. “Decadelong permitting delays are standing in the way of high-paying jobs and revenue for local communities,” says bill sponsor Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.). The White House opposes the bill, saying it is so vaguely worded that it would lift environmental safeguards on almost all hard-rock mining in the U.S. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources for review.
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